Editorials

Travel associated illness

BMJ 1996; 312 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.312.7036.925 (Published 13 April 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:925
  1. Martin Mckee
  1. Reader in public health medicine Health Services Research Unit, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London WC1E 7HT

    We need to stop blaming the victim

    If you develop diarrhoea and vomiting on a foreign holiday this year, who is responsible? Some might argue that, because these symptoms are so common, affecting typically between 30% and 40% of people holidaying abroad, no one can be blamed.1 2 Others might argue that it is your own fault, for not taking the advice that is available in many popular books and government leaflets on travellers' health. But what if your illness is part of an outbreak affecting a large number of people staying at the same hotel or travelling on the same plane? Should you still simply accept it or should you hold the airline, the hotel management, the travel agent, or someone else responsible?

    In Britain until 1992, legal liability in the event of an outbreak such as this was governed by the general laws of contract and tort, in the same way as …

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