An 11-year-old girl has had arthritis for more than a year after contracting salmonella while on vacation in the Canary Islands.
Phoebe Bettey traveled to Lanzarote with her family last summer, but fell ill with stomach ailment a week later.
This was later confirmed as a result of salmonella.
She has since developed a secondary condition called reactive arthritis, which is described as joint pain and swelling caused by an infection in another part of your body.
More than a year since the trip last July, Phoebe is still in need of medication and struggling under the supervision of a pediatrician.
The family from Plymouth, Devon lived in the Holiday Village Lanzarote, which was run by the tour operator TUI UK Limited.
After her diagnosis of salmonella, Phoebe’s family hired Irwin Mitchell’s vacation sickness lawyers to investigate how she got sick.
Her mother has now spoken out in favor of the link between her daughter’s condition and stomach infections such as salmonella and cyclospora as part of National Arthritis Week.
Her mother Jane Cray said: “Since our vacation in Lanzarote, Phoebe has struggled a lot. She’s way too young to deal with anything like this, and it’s heartbreaking to know that she’s in pain.
“Reactive arthritis was something I really didn’t know much about until last year, and like most people, I assumed it was probably a disease that older people suffer from.
“I wish I could turn back the clock and keep us from going on vacation last July, but I know it can’t. I just hope that by sharing what Phoebe is going through, we can help Raise awareness of the disease and symptoms that people should look out for. “
Phoebe was only nine years old while on vacation at the four-star hotel.
On August 1, she began to feel unwell with symptoms of nausea, headache, and a high fever. She then developed diarrhea, stomach pain, and vomiting.
After being admitted to a hospital in Lanzarote, she was diagnosed with salmonella.
The family flew home from Lanzarote on August 8th. At this point, Phoebe was still suffering from loose stools and abdominal pain.
About a month later, Phoebe complained of puffy eyes and pain in toes, legs, and joints.
She was diagnosed with reactive arthritis, which was believed to be related to salmonella infection.
Phoebe is now on anti-inflammatory drugs and is under examination by a pediatrician. She continues to experience puffy eyes, swollen toes, and painful legs and joints.
Jennifer Hodgson, Irwin Mitchell’s international specialist injury attorney who represents Phoebe and her family, said, “The past year has been incredibly difficult for Phoebe. She first contracted salmonella while on family vacation and developed reactive arthritis shortly afterwards.
“Due to the debilitating effects of the disease, Phoebe missed several days of school and had to cut back on activities such as soccer, which is understandably annoying for her.
“Reactive arthritis is often caused by an intestinal infection such as food poisoning, but this is largely unknown. It is also largely unknown that diseases like this can affect both adults and children. As part of National Arthritis Week, we hope to raise awareness about the disease and its links to diseases such as salmonella.
“It is also the perfect opportunity for Phoebe’s family to share their story and show that there is support to help others who have been affected.”