Dad-of-three contracts deadly Legionnaires' disease on Greek island holiday

Father-of-three Colin Duggan was left fighting for his life when a luxury family holiday turned into a nightmare after he was diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease. 

The 43-year-old suffered chest pains and struggled breathing when he returned to the UK following a ten-day break in the Greek island of Kos with his family. 

Tests confirmed that he was suffering from Legionnaires' disease when he was taken to Aintree University Hospital near his home in Liverpool. 

Mr Duggan was confined to hospital for 10 days and lost a stone in weight following the diagnosis.

The scaffolding manager, who has been off work for four months, said: 'It was actually a very close call for me - as I was told anyone over 50 probably would not survived the illness. That just made me feel thankful and lucky that I was only 43 and quite physically fit. I have never thought about what would have happened if it was one of my children.

'I just thank the lucky stars it was me and not them or my wife, I would have much rather it be me. I just feel lucky I'm still here with them. It was probably more scary for my wife because she had to see me going down hill and fast.

'I'm still recovering now, it will take a lot longer than I will expect. My doctor has told me that a lot of people expect they will get better quickly but it will take a long time to get back to the way I was, if I even get back to that at all. They have told me I might always have a little bit of a problem with my chest.'

Mr Duggan, his wife Carol, 40, and their children Jamie, ten, Katie, 13, and Gabriella, seven, booked their stay at the Gaia Royal Hotel, in Kos, Greece, through

They flew out to the Greek island from Liverpool on July 23 after spending around £3,500 on the trip. 

Towards the end of their holiday Colin was feeling unwell, which he put down to just being in another country. 

But he said the room he stayed in was not of the standard they expected when booking the holiday and they asked to move. 

He said the air conditioning unit in their second room appeared quite old and was not functioning correctly.

Legionnaires' disease is a serious lung infection caused by Legionella bacteria and usually develops after breathing in small droplets of contaminated water, usually through air conditioning or similar systems. 

Mr Duggan took poorly eight days into his holiday but his symptoms deteriorated when he returned home and he collapsed 11 days after returning to the UK. 

He said: 'When I started to feel unwell I thought I was suffering with the flu. When my symptoms hadn't cleared and seemed to be getting worse rather than better I saw my GP and from there I was quickly admitted to hospital It was an extremely frightening experience.

'At first the doctors didn't know what was wrong with me, I couldn't breath and my lungs were collapsing. The realised how severe it was and began testing for leukemia and even HIV. My temperature kept rising and by the Saturday night that's when they thought I was going to die.' 

Mr Duggan said he and his wife take their children away once every year and have holidayed in Australia, America and Singapore. 

He said: 'I don't get to see my family much because I work away in London and places so I was really looking forward to a bit of time with the kids.

'They were scared they knew and were watching their mum and how panicky she was getting. We had all looking forward to a relaxing break away in Greece as a family and this was the very last thing I expected when I booked the holiday.

'The illness continues to have an impact on me as I've been off work ever since and my wife has had to take time off to care for me and help me recover. I now feel as though I need another holiday to get over the one I had in July. We want answers about how I came to fall so ill.'

Clare Pearson, an expert travel illness lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing the family, said: 'Legionnaires' disease is extremely serious and can in some cases, be fatal. The conditions reported by Colin and Carol at the hotel, particularly the air conditioning unit in their room, are very concerning and we have now begun our own investigations into what may have caused Colin's illness.

'We would urge anyone who stayed at the hotel over the summer who suffered illness to contact us as they may be able to help us with our inquiries.

'The family's holiday was completely ruined by the illness Colin suffered in Greece and the impact it has had on them since their return. We are now working to provide them with the answers they deserve about what caused this terrible illness.'

Loveholidays said: ' takes the well-being of its customers very seriously, however as this matter is the subject of legal proceedings we’re unable to comment further.'

The hotel were approached for comment yesterday. 

SOURCE: Daily Mail Online