• 47 Jimmy Buffett fans fell sick on recent Dominican Republic vacation, group says

    By: Michelle Ewing, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

    Updated:
    PUNTA CANA, Dominican Republic -

    Nearly four dozen Jimmy Buffett fans were sickened during a recent vacation in the Dominican Republic, an Oklahoma "parrothead" group said.

    According to KFOR-TV, 114 members of the Central Oklahoma Parrothead Association stayed at Punta Cana's Hotel Riu Palace Macao in April. But a few days into their stay, people began to fall ill, group member and travel agent Dana Flowers told the station.

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    Eventually, 47 travelers in the group – including Flowers – fell sick with various symptoms, including "crippling diarrhea," fever and dizziness, he told NBC News.

    "Most people initially thought that it was food poisoning," Flowers told the news outlet, adding that he ended up losing 14 pounds.

    Some of the travelers tested positive for salmonella, although Flowers did not, KFOR reported.

    Officials haven't identified the cause of the sickness, but Flowers told KFOR that everyone who fell ill "drank at the swim-up pool bar or swam at the swim-up pool."

    In a statement to KFOR, the hotel said it was aware that members of the group experienced "a possible case of gastroenteritis."

    "These events occurred after an external activity of this group outside the hotel, so we can not determine the exact origin of the stomach upset," the statement read. "Having said that, no more similar cases were registered by other guests during the indicated date above."

    The news came amid reports that nine American tourists have died mysteriously in the Dominican Republic since June 2018.

    According to NBC News, Dominican officials, who describe the deaths as "isolated" incidents, have requested assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation as they look into the cases.

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