A TRAVEL warning has been issued to Welsh holidaymakers visiting Mexico after 12 tourists were struck down with crippling stomach pains, sickness and diarrhoea after eating contaminated food.

Visitors to the Riviera Maya and Cancun regions of Mexico have been struck down with the Cyclsopora parasite - the fifth year in a row.

38 Welsh tourists have been struck down with the bug since 2015 - which is spread by contaminated water and food.

The same areas were subject to a public health warning three years ago.

But the sickness bug has started infecting Welsh tourists again.

Authorities believe the number of victims could rise as a number of luxury all inclusive hotels in the Riviera Maya resort are believed to already be affected by the latest outbreak.

Now Public Health Wales is advising anyone who has visited the the affected resorts and is feeling ill to seek medical attention.

Nick Harris, head of travel at Simpson Millar solicitors who is representing over 450 victims including Welsh victims caught up in the current and past outbreaks, said: "We have been inundated with people who have fallen ill in the resorts.

"So far we have been contacted by people who have fallen ill in five different hotels.

"But I understand there are others affected and as this is peak season like other years it has the potential to spread like wildfire."

The sickness bug is spread by infected human faeces contaminating water or food and previous outbreaks have been connected to salad products like mint, lettuce or basil and fresh soft fruits like raspberries.

Public Health Wales said Cyclsopora most often occurs in tropical and subtropical regions of the world including South and Central America, South and South East Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

Infection can cause symptoms such as diarrhoea, cramps, nausea, flatulence, loss of appetite, fatigue, low-grade fever and weight loss.

The infection usually clears up on its own but can be treated with antibiotics and people with impaired immune systems can have longer and more severe infections.

Dr Behrooz Behbod, consultant epidemiologist at Public Health Wales, said: "In Wales, there have been a similar number of Cyclospora cases in recent years, all occurring in the summer.

"Anyone travelling to Mexico or any other tropical or subtropical region can reduce their risk of infection by following good food, water, and hand hygiene.”

Other health authorities in Scotland and England have also warned tourists of the dangers posed by illness in Mexico as the outbreak spreads.

A spokesman for Public Health Wales confirmed an outbreak of Cyclospora in Mexico, stating: "Public Health Wales, along with other health agencies across the UK, has seen an increase in reports of Cyclospora infection in returning travellers from Mexico.

"In Wales, there have been a total of 12 cases associated with travel to Mexico in 2019. The majority of cases stayed in the Riviera Maya and Cancun regions of Mexico.

"Get medical advice if you experience any symptoms, either during your holiday or after you return. If you are ill when you get home, remember to tell your GP about your travel history."