A woman was ravaged so badly by bed bugs on a luxury Caribbean holiday that she is still suffering skin conditions four years later.
Jessica Mann, from Manchester, has received a five figure payout after she was badly bitten during her holiday from hell with then boyfriend Aaron Rigby in the Dominican Republic.
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The pair stayed at the Sirensis Cocotal Hotel, in Punta Cana, in May 2011 - but after just a few days the young couple started to break out in painful rashes and blisters.
Jessica, 24, suffers from skin condition Pompholyx, which leaves the skin on her hands and feet sensitive, peeling and dry.
But since the ordeal her symptoms have significantly worsened and Jessica - who is an aircraft co-ordinator at Manchester Airport - is still suffering pain and discomfort.
Now specialist illness lawyers at Irwin Mitchell have secured payouts for the pair from tour operator Thomas Cook - despite the firm denying liability.
Jessica said: "I had never been on a long-haul holiday before and the trip was meant to be a special break for both of us - instead, it was a very frightening experience and I just wanted to go home.
"And now I have no choice but to live with my condition which seems to have been made worse by the holiday. It is immensely frustrating.
"It was supposed to be a memorable break but looking back now, I just wish we'd never gone."
Both Jessica and now-ex Aaron required medical treatment for the rashes and sought advice from the site doctor at the resort, with Aaron being given medication.
But after returning home Jessica needed a whole month off work to recover from the severe blistering.
They were both then treated at Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport for the large, irritable red blisters, which burst, and prescribed painkillers, steroids and creams.
Clare Pearson, from Irwin Mitchell, represents the holidaymakers. She told Caters News: "This is a terrible situation in which our clients have developed extremely uncomfortable and embarrassing conditions during what was meant to be a relaxing holiday.
"Sadly such cases are not uncommon and while nothing can be done to reverse the problems Jessica and Aaron have faced, we hope that the settlements will go some way towards helping them to take steps to put these issues behind them.
"Their story is an important reminder that everything possible should be done to ensure the safety of holidaymakers."
Jessica added: "Nothing can change what has happened but after securing this settlement we just want to put this ordeal behind us and move on.
"It was not just the rash that spoiled the holiday, there were lots of other things wrong with the hotel.
"There were lots of insects in our hotel room and the fridge and lights in our first hotel room were not working properly.
"When Aaron and I complained to both the Thomas Cook representative and the staff at the hotel they did not seem to take our complaints very seriously and at times it felt like I was spending more time complaining than I was enjoying the holiday."
A spokesperson for Thomas Cook UK & Ireland said: "We were sorry to hear about Ms Mann and Mr Rigby's experience while on holiday at the Sirenis Cocotal in the Dominican Republic in 2011.
"Thomas Cook closely audits all the properties to which it operates to ensure that only the highest health and hygiene standards are maintained. We can confirm that the Sirenis Cocotal no longer features in our holiday programme.
"It is never our intention to disappoint our customers. We are happy to say this matter has now been resolved to Ms Mann and Mr Rigby's satisfaction, and that we have reached an agreement with their legal representatives."
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