MOSCOW (Sputnik) — In recent days, media reports have emerged claiming that the number of tourists infected with Coxsackievirus (an enterovirus infection) was growing in Turkey, with dozens of tourists allegedly forced to interrupt their vacation ahead of schedule. Turkey’s Health Ministry denied on Wednesday media reports about the epidemic the disease.
"Rospotrebnadzor made a decision regarding the unsafe conditions for the health of Russian tourists in Turkey’s Gulf of Antalya region. The document has been sent to Rosturism [the Russian Federal Agency for Tourism]," the source said.
According to the source, Rospotrebnadzor has coordinated this decision with the Russian Foreign Ministry.
The watchdog also stated Friday it had received more than 500 complaints from Russian tourists about the deterioration of health in Turkish resort towns.
"More than 500 complaints have been sent by tourists to the official address of Rospotrebnadzor through a specially opened 'hotline' about the deterioration of health during their stay at the Turkish resorts…mainly affected are children aged up to 14 years, " Rospotrebnadzor said in a statement.
The service stressed that it addressed the Turkish Health Ministry on the epidemiological situation in the country and has not received a response so far.
"Rospotrebnadzor has submitted a request to the Turkish Health Ministry concerning the state of the epidemiological situation in the country, while a response has not been provided so far, Rospotrebnadzor will continue its work to get a a full evaluation of the situation," the statement read.
The Russian Embassy in Ankara told Sputnik that it requested information about complaints by Russian tourists and cases of illnesses.
Russia's state tourism agency Russiatourism on Friday warned Russian citizens planning to travel to Turkey that they would be putting their health at risk in light of recent media reports about an enterovirus infection in the country.
"Russiatourism strongly recommends that Russian citizens take into account the existing threat to the health of tourists when planning their visit to Turkey," the agency said in a statement.
The agency added that Russian tourists could cancel their trips to Turkey without paying extra fees due to the threat of being infected.
“Due to the existing situation, according to article 14 of the Federal Law №132-FЗ 'On Fundamental Principles of Tourist Activities in the Russian Federation' of November 24, 1996, a tourist has the right to demand changes (including destination and period of a trip) or termination of a contract on providing tourist services in Turkey. The actual costs should not be retained by the contractor,” the statement read.
Coxsackievirus was identified in the middle of the 20th century in the United States. The virus is divided into A and B groups. The first group affects the skin and mucous membranes, causing herpangina, hemorrhagic conjunctivitis, respiratory disease, while group B infects the heart, pleura, pancreas and liver, leading to inflammation of the heart muscle, hepatitis and other illnesses.