Essex beach-goers struck by mysterious illness as 150 people start vomiting and suffer breathing difficulties

27 August 2019, 17:25 | Updated: 27 August 2019, 17:33

Essex beaches were evacuated
Essex beaches were evacuated. Picture: PA Images

Up to 150 people fell ill after a mystery illness struck Essex beachgoers leaving kids struggling to breathe.

The sunny Bank Holiday weekend ended in disaster for some when up to 150 people reported feeling ill after visiting beaches in Essex.

Emergency services were called out after beachgoers at coastal towns Frinton-on-Sea, Clacton and Walton-on-the-Naze reported symptoms such as shortness of breath, vomiting and coughing.

Hundreds of families were enjoying the sun on Sunday when a large number of people began to have trouble breathing at around lunchtime.

But despite Essex Police advising people not to enter the water, many returned to the beaches on Monday.

According to the BBC, 14 people were taken to Colchester Hospital after going in the sea, but no-one was seriously ill.

Holiday makers were told to keep away from the sea
Holiday makers were told to keep away from the sea. Picture: PA Images

It's still not clear what caused the mystery illness, but a spokesman for Tendring District Council has since confirmed a full investigation is now underway.

A mum who took her family to Frinton over the weekend to visit her parents, told Press Association how one of her twin daughters was left struggling to breathe.

Miriam Lansdell, 45, said: "My daughter started coughing. She said, "I don't feel good. It hurts to breathe in".

The Derbyshire-based mother said she also had shortness of breath after taking a dip in the water, but felt immediately better when she moved further away from the beach.

Health worker Miriam took her 10-year-old girls to a walk-in clinic to be checked over by medical staff.

She added: "It's not what you expect when you go for a day out to the beach."

A spokesperson for East of England Ambulance Service said: "Ambulance crews treated people at the scene with eye wash and fresh drinking water, and the vast majority of people made a full recovery at the scene. A very small number of people were taken to hospital for further evaluation in a non-life-threatening and stable condition.

“While we await the results of lab testing, from our colleagues in the Environment Agency, Public Health England and supported by Essex County Fire and Rescue Service, our advice remains to avoid going into the water.

“We are hopeful that, with two tides passing through, the cause of this incident – whatever – it may have been, will have passed. However, we will not be complacent and will continue to review the situation.”

Beachgoers have been told to wash themselves down if they were in the water and drink plenty of fresh water.

Anyone with further concerns should call the NHS on 111.