Scores of Jimmy Buffett fans from Oklahoma became violently ill at a hotel in the Dominican Republic, the group’s travel agent has revealed, deepening the mystery of Americans who have died or become ill on the island.
Forty-seven of the 114 people on the trip suffered “crippling” vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, fevers, chills and dizziness during the trip to Punta Cana on the eastern tip of the island in April, agent and Buffett fan Dana Flowers told People magazine.
He was one of the fans affected. “It was some of the worst sick I’ve ever been,” Flowers told People. He was ill for three weeks and lost 14 pounds, he told the “Today” show.
Flowers said some of the travelers still aren’t back to normal.
The news adds to a string of disturbing sicknesses — and deaths — of Americans visiting the island. At least six U.S tourists have died, some in eerily similar circumstances, while vacationing at resorts across the Dominican Republic since the summer of 2018. Many have reported becoming violently ill.
Flowers said people in his “Parrothead” group initially thought the symptoms were caused by food poisoning, but they grew continually worse. Two people tested positive for salmonella when they returned to the states, he said. (Buffett himself was not part of the excursion.)
He believes everyone who became ill either swam in the Hotel Riu Palace Macao pool or had drinks at the poolside bar, he told KFOR-TV in Oklahoma City. Most who sought treatment from the hotel doctor were put on an IV and given medicine for parasites — though Flowers said they were not tested for parasites or anything else.
The hotel said in a statement to People that managers were aware that three people were treated in the hotel doctor’s office for a “possible case of gastroenteritis.” The “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 added. “No more similar cases were registered by other guests” during that period.