THE family of a boy who contracted potentially deadly E.coli after a holiday in Turkey is taking legal action in an attempt to find answers about how he was struck by the illness.

Julie Gilmartin, 39, said her son Matthew Bennett, 10, started to develop symptoms including diarrhoea on the plane home from a week-long stay at the Bone Club Sunset Hotel & Spa, Antalya, at the start of July.

The youngster, from Penilee, Glasgow, was then seen by a GP, who requested a stool sample after the boy experienced further symptoms, including severe abdominal pains and passing blood.

His health deteriorated and he was taken to A&E, where he was admitted to the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow for more than three days.

Following several tests, his mother was advised Matthew had been diagnosed with E.coli 0157, a serious bacterial infection that can cause serious long-term complications and sometimes even death.

Ms Gilmartin, a customer assistant at Sainsbury’s, said: “Matthew went to the toilet a few times on the plane journey home, which seemed odd for him.

READ MORE: Food Standards Scotland issues warning over Shiga-toxi E.coli bug

“Then, as the days passed, there was clearly something wrong. He didn’t eat well and started to suffer from further issues, like stomach cramps.

“I ended up calling the NHS 24-hour helpline and was told straight away to take him to hospital. It was awful to see how the illness affected him and they [doctors] felt they had no choice to admit him. It was horrendous.”

Ms Gilmartin and Matthew, along with his father Henry and younger brother Ollie, arrived at the Turkish resort on July 6, after booking the break through Jet2. She added: “I was stunned to get the news that Matthew’s illness was E.coli.

“I’m just so frustrated we went away for what should have been a nice, family break, only for this to happen.

“It is awful and we deserve some answers as to how Matthew’s illness emerged and whether it could have been prevented.

“Although I had seen some concerning issues in relation to the cleanliness and hygiene in the restaurant, such as roaming cats and food sometimes being served lukewarm, I never thought I was at serious risk of illness. I dread to think that other children might be running the risk of also being affected.”

Ms Gilmartin has asked a legal team to investigate how the illness was contracted and whether more could have been done to prevent it.

Jatinder Paul, a senior associate solicitor at Irwin Mitchell, which is representing the mother and son, said the firm was looking into what happened.

He said: “We are hugely concerned by the information provided to us by Julie and Matthew and have already commenced our investigations into the issues they faced.

“E.coli is a very serious illness and we have seen on numerous occasions how it can have a particular impact on both the elderly and children. With this in mind, we are determined to ensure this family gets the answers it deserves and Matthew can also get support to assist his recovery.

“Very serious questions have been raised by this case and we would also be keen to hear from anyone else who may have suffered similar issues after staying at this resort to assist us with our investigations.”

READ MORE: Firm stops production of Dunsyre Blue cheese after council action 'destroys' reputation

A Jet2 spokesman said: “We are sorry to hear Ms Gilmartin’s son was taken ill following their holiday. But, as lawyers have been instructed, it would be inappropriate for us to make any further comment.”

E.coli is short for Escherichia coli. It is a type of bacterium present in the gut of humans and other animals.

Most strains are harmless but some are able to produce toxins that can cause symptoms in humans.

The number of E.coli infections recorded in Scotland increased in 2018, according to a report on surveillance data.

Cases of E.coli O157 decreased, while non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing E.coli (STEC) increased.

About one-third of the infected people were admitted to hospitals for at least one night during their illness.

Of the 218 people for whom information about their condition was available, just over one in four were considered to have acquired their infection outside the United Kingdom.