BRITS heading to Cape Verde have been issued a new holiday warning by the UK government.

Cape Verde is a popular destination for UK travellers, being just a few hours by plane.

However, hundreds of tourists have recently been struck down by shigella, a highly contagious vomiting bug.

Many of the reported cases were in Santa Maria on the island Sal, which includes all-inclusive hotels.

In response, the UK Foreign Office has issued new travel advice for Brits heading to the island.

The website states: "In February 2023, there was an increase in cases of Shigellosis, a form of dysentery, among travellers returning from Cape Verde.

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"Most cases reported stayed in the Santa Maria region on the island of Sal.

"You should follow the health advice issued by the National Travel Health Network and Centre and make sure you are observing standard food, water and personal hygiene precautions, such as washing hands."

The advice includes making sure food is hot and thoroughly cooked, as well as avoiding fresh unpeeled fruit if not washed.

Avoiding swallowing pool water is also advised, and couples travelling together are warned to avoid sexual contact for 48 hours if either is affected by diarrhoea.

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Choose recently prepared, thoroughly cooked food that is served piping hot.

The government also warns that medical facilities and medicines are "limited" on the island, while some of the islands no longer have airports for emergency air evacuations.

Brits are urged to make sure they have travel insurance to cover them in case of a medical emergency.

Shigella bacteria causes fever, diarrhoea and stomach pain, and is spread from faecal to oral infection, from person to person and from hand to mouth.

Most people recover within a week, although young kids, the elderly and anyone with ongoing health conditions are more at risk of complications.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has warned of an increase in cases of shigella since September 2022.

A report warned it was "rapidly evolving" with cases reported in the UK, France, Germany and the Netherlands, as well as Denmark, Finland, Belgium and Czech Republic.

Shigella is also on the rise in the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has warned.

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Since 2015, experts have noted a rise in cases linked to the drug-resistant XDR strain.

And recent surge in infections has prompted officials to call it a "serious public health threat".

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