10-month-old girl catches hand, foot and mouth disease in Majorca

Mother, 18, slams travel agent and airline for not telling her of a hand, foot and mouth outbreak in Majorca after her 10-month-old daughter is left in ‘agony’ from the infection

  • Gemma Whitelaw, from Airdrie in Scotland, took her daughter Ayla to Majorca
  • But the 10-month-old caught the viral infection and fell ill when they got back
  • Miss Whitelaw says she might not have gone if she’d known about the virus risk
  • She is one of numerous UK parents whose children have got sick on the island 
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A mother is angry at her travel agent and airline for not warning about cases of hand, foot and mouth disease in Majorca, where her 10-month old daughter caught it.

Gemma Whitelaw, 18, from Aidrie in Scotland, recently took her daughter Ayla on her first holiday abroad to the Spanish island but, when they returned, the infant fell ill.

Ayla developed a rash on her body which became infected and she came down with a fever before being diagnosed with hand, foot and mouth disease.

The infection has been spreading on the island over the summer and Miss Whitelaw says parents should be warned before they go.

Miss Whitelaw stayed at a hotel called the Deya, near to the Club Mac hotel where there were at least 48 confirmed cases of the infection in September alone. 

Gemma Whitelaw, 18 (pictured right with her daughter Ayla, 10 months, and mother Kathleen McGoldrick) took her daughter on holiday to Majorca but the infant caught hand, foot and mouth disease

Miss Whitelaw has slammed her travel agent and airline for not warning her about previous cases of the viral infection.

She told the Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser: ‘I was incredibly angry when I came home and read the news reports that nearly 50 people had contracted hand, foot and mouth disease in Majorca.

‘I’ve no idea why my travel agent On the Beach or Ryanair didn’t feel it was necessary to inform me about what was happening, especially when I was travelling with a 10-month-old baby.

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‘If I had known what was going on I would have taken more precautions or wouldn’t have gone in the first place.’

Miss Whitelaw and Ayla spent a week in Majorca with three of her friends but it was not until their return home the mother noticed something was wrong with her baby. 

Ayla was left ‘in agony’ and covered in spots, blisters and bumps, her mother said. 

Miss Whitelaw said: ‘I saw a group of small spots on Ayla’s stomach, arms and legs and took her to the doctor.

Ayla developed a rash on her legs (pictured) and her abdomen and was ‘in agony’, her mother said. Miss Whitelaw is angry her travel agent and airline didn’t warn her about the spread of the infection on the island

‘He told me he thought it was chickenpox but I wasn’t convinced as there were no spots on her face. They were only from her neck down.

‘The next day the rash started to get worse so I took her to the pharmacist while I was picking up the calamine lotion the doctor had prescribed.

‘When I explained to the pharmacist the spots were clumping together he said he thought it could be hand, foot and mouth disease.


Hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) is a viral infection that causes lesions to form on a sufferer’s hands, feet and mouth.

It can also affect the buttocks and genitals.

The condition is not related to foot and mouth disease in animals.  

HFMD is usually not serious and does not require treatment, however, it can cause secondary infections if skin is scratched.

It is most common in children under 10, with outbreaks occurring at nurseries and schools. 

How can it be spread? 

  • Close personal contact, such as hugging an infected person
  • The air when an infected person coughs or sneezes
  • Contact with faeces, such as changing diapers of an infected person, then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth before washing your hands
  • Contact with contaminated objects and surfaces, like touching a doorknob that has viruses on it, then touching your eyes, mouth, or nose before washing your hands

Treatment focuses on adequate fluid intake, a soft diet and painkillers, if necessary.

Source: Patient.org and CDC

‘After a long day of my baby girl being in agony and crying, a family member showed me a news article about Majorca being rife with hand, foot and mouth disease.

‘I looked at the pictures and the victims’ legs, feet, arms and bodies looked exactly like Ayla’s.’

Hand, foot and mouth disease causes lesions to form on a patient’s hands, feet and mouth – they are not usually serious but can be painful.

The infection mostly affects children under 10, is not linked to foot and mouth disease in animals, and usually clears up on its own. 

Families visiting one hotel in Majorca have been particularly affected.

‘I then discovered the Club Mac hotel where the outbreak originated was less than an hour’s drive from our hotel, the Deya,’ said Miss Whitelaw.

‘It’s also highly probable that we shared a plane home with people who stayed in the Club Mac.’

Ayla is now recovering from her ordeal but Miss Whitelaw warned other parents to avoid travelling to Majorca.

She said: ‘I had to take Ayla to the out-of-hours care at Airdrie Health Centre last weekend as some of her spots got infected.

‘She was given antibiotics and I started giving her Calpol to keep her temperature down.

‘We’ve got cream to put on her rashes too and thankfully she seems to be on the mend now.

‘But it was a very worrying time as she was really unwell. You don’t want to see your baby going through pain like that.

‘I would strongly advise other parents to avoid going on holiday to Majorca until this outbreak is eradicated.’

Miss Whitelaw added: ‘It isn’t worth the risk as hand, foot and mouth is a horrible disease for children to contract.

‘This has certainly put me off going back to Majorca, especially as I would struggle to trust the travel agent and airline to be honest about any future outbreaks.’ 

A spokesperson for travel agent On the Beach said: ‘This is the only instance of hand, foot and mouth disease that we have been made aware of at the Deya Hotel, Majorca.

‘Following Ms Whitelaw’s holiday we were made aware that a number of cases of the infection had been reported at the Club Mac hotel in Alcudia.

Five-month-old Milla MacIntyre, from Glasgow, caught hand, foot and mouth disease at the Club Mac hotel in Majorca in September – the hotel confirmed there were at least 48 cases at their resort in just three weeks

‘As a result we contacted all of our customers with a booking for this hotel to offer them alternative accommodation for their holiday.

‘The Club Mac has since taken several measures to prevent the spread of infection within the hotel.’ 

Ryanair said: ‘This is a matter for the Majorcan health authorities.’ 

A number of other children from England and Scotland have caught hand, foot and mouth disease in Majorca over the summer.

Nine-month-old twins Mila-Rose and Kyson Scott, from Solihull, were left with the worst case of hand, foot and mouth disease their doctors had ever seen. 

Milla MacIntyre developed the uncomfortable rash on her legs (pictured) after the family had returned home and her sister, Nevah, who had fallen ill while they were still on holiday was diagnosed with the same infection by their doctor in Glasgow

Kimberley McCabe, 28, claims her twins broke out in painful red sores during a week-long holiday to the three-star Club Mac Hotel in Alcudia, Majorca, last month. 

And Danielle MacIntyre, from Glasgow, spent £3,000 on a week holiday at the same hotel, only for her two daughters to catch the infection.  

Nevah, three, was struck down with a rash after just five days in the Spanish resort – despite an onsite doctor being adamant that she was just dehydrated.

And her five-month-old sister, Milla, also broke out in a rash once she was back home, where the sisters were then diagnosed with the viral infection by a doctor. 

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