What you need to know if you're traveling to the Dominican Republic amid recent tourist deaths

Following reports of tourists getting sick (sometimes fatally) after traveling to the Dominican Republic, travelers planning to travel to the Dominican Republic may soon be wondering what to do with their trip, what the facts are about the situation, and what they are doing as a trip. what are the rights of the author. Unfortunately, the situation is still ongoing and unclear, but we can take a look at what we know so far: According to various reports, some American tourists have reportedly become ill after staying in the Dominican Republic, and there are reports that At least seven tourists died last year from various causes. In June, two American tourists were found dead in their hotel rooms at different resorts in the Dominican Republic, just days after former Bachelor star Melissa Rycroft revealed on social media that she was visiting the Dominican Republic Got sick while traveling to the resort this month as well. Additionally, the FBI is investigating these reports.

There has been no official cause of the illnesses and deaths, and it's not even clear whether the cases are related to each other. Dominican Republic Ministry of Health spokesman Carlos Suero told Fox News in a statement that reports of sick tourists "are all hysteria directed at the Dominican Republic and harming our tourism industry." Surro continued: "The test results are all negative, everything - food, alcohol, air - is normal, there is no change in alcohol levels. We receive so many tourists every year, make sure we adhere to international standards for everything."

Likewise, Dominican Republic Tourism Minister Francisco Javier Garcia told Fox News that "what started as a news story has turned, turned, turned into a negative campaign (against the island). Not because it was installed, but because it evolved”. Garcia went on to say that Dominican Republic officials are still awaiting the results of an FBI toxicology report on the tourist's death.

What we know so far:

Joseph Allen, 55, of New Jersey, died on June 13 at his resort in Sosua, Dominican Republic, after he said he felt uncomfortable at the hotel pool. On June 10, 53-year-old Leyla Cox of New York City was found dead in her resort hotel room in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

On May 30, Nathaniel Holmes, 63, and Cynthia Day, 49, of Maryland, were found dead in their hotel room in La Romana, Dominican Republic Inside. They suffered from internal bleeding and fluid in their lungs, although Holmes received pre-medical exams. Existing conditions. Miranda Schaup-Werner, 41, of Whitehall, Pa., also died on May 25 of fluid in her lungs after traveling to La Romana, Dominican Republic. During this time her husband reported that she fell ill after drinking a drink from the hotel room's minibar. Susan Simoneaux, of Luling, Louisiana, died June 18 of fluid in her lungs after a honeymoon trip to Punta Cana, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

In April, 64-year-old John Cochran (brother of "Shark Tank" star Barbara Cochran) was found dead in a hotel room in the Dominican Republic, however, Country Living reported Barra and her family said John died of natural causes related to: heart disease. Robert Wallace, 67, of Turlock, Calif., died April 12 in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, after becoming ill after drinking scotch from a hotel room minibar.

The cause of these deaths and other tourist illnesses has not yet been determined, though the U.S. Embassy said it is working with Dominican officials to find answers, and the FBI is reportedly testing minibar samples at local resorts after reports of people falling ill after drinking from the hotel. Drinks in the minibar. Authorities are also considering the possibility that tainted or counterfeit alcohol could be to blame, the New York Post reported.

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Reports of other illnesses have emerged

Since reports of these deaths hit the news, there have been many other stories about people falling ill while vacationing in the Dominican Republic. At least 47 people from Oklahoma reported serious illness while visiting the country in April with a Jimmy Buffett fan club. Kaylynn Knull, 29, and Tom Schwander, 33, of Colorado, told CNN they met in Bahia Purin, La Romana, Dominican Republic, in June 2018. He became seriously ill while staying at the Grand Bahia Principe Hotel, the resort where Holmes, Day and Shope-Werner were found dead this month. The couple are currently suing the hotel. A spokeswoman for the Bahia Principe Hotel declined to comment on Knull and Schwander's accusations due to "pending litigation," CNN reported. It said the deaths of three tourists this month were isolated incidents and not related to the charges against Knull and Schwander. "There is no indication that there is any connection between these two unfortunate incidents," the spokesperson said in a statement to CNN.

This doesn’t mean you should avoid the Dominican Republic

As NBC News points out, reports of such cluster illnesses are not uncommon in the Dominican Republic and other parts of the Caribbean: The CDC warns visitors that drinking the country's tap water could put them at risk for hepatitis A, typhoid, and Risk of cholera. Travelers' diarrhea is also extremely common there.

Additionally, the State Department has not issued a travel warning for the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic is under a Level 2 travel warning due to the country's high crime rate, but that just means you have to be more careful while you're there - so there's no official reason to cancel travel to the Dominican Republic.

As an unnamed Dominican tourism expert told Fox News on June 19, Dominican tourism is expected to see a decline in the wake of these reports, but officials will soon announce the tourist's cause of death. "It would be a disaster (for the country) if we don't address this issue... It would be terrible if we ended up with a 10 or 15 percent decline (in tourism)." He continued The recession will not only affect hotels and resorts, but also the communities in which they are located. "Thousands of dollars come into these communities directly or indirectly from tourism...10 percent of tourism means a 10 percent drop in income for these communities."

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No official reason to cancel your trip

There are currently no official warnings for U.S. travelers to the island, so there is no official reason to cancel your trip. If you do decide to travel to the Dominican Republic, please take precautions before any international travel. As International SOS Senior Vice President and Regional Medical Director Robert Quigley told CNN, travelers should see a doctor before departure, "especially if they may have chronic medical conditions or cardiovascular disease." Quigley explained that the lack of sleep and stress associated with traveling can often make underlying medical conditions more severe.

With the Dominican Republic receiving approximately 6 million tourists each year, it is important to keep these deaths in perspective. Caribbean travel expert Eddie Lloyd told The Washington Post, "Yes, bad things happen to tourists, whether it's a bus collision or a death. Is this a sign that the destination is collapsing?" ? No. ” He added: “People are rarely advised to avoid the Dominican Republic.”

If you do want to cancel, what are your rights?

If you still feel uncomfortable traveling to the Dominican Republic at this time, and you have already booked a trip, your chances of getting a refund will vary. Check your hotel and airline's cancellation policies and find out what steps you need to take.

Some hotels do offer free cancellation, but airlines may give you trouble, especially if you booked a non-refundable ticket. Depending on the type of ticket you book, you may be eligible for some type of refund or credit. You probably won't get a full refund from the airline, though, especially considering there's no official warning against traveling to the Dominican Republic.