Group reportedly falls ill at Dominican Republic resort during teens' senior trip
PUNTA CANA, Dominican Republic - A senior trip to the Dominican Republic reportedly took a turn for the worst when a group from Oklahoma became very sick while staying at a resort and required hospitalization.
The recent Deer Creek High School graduates flew to the country on June 8 and stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Punta Cana, KOTV-TV reported. Around 60 people were in the group, which included at least 40 graduates and family members, according to the station.
Mother Liz McLaughlin told KOTV that her daughter, Libby, was among at least seven members of the group who became ill after eating at the resort's Japanese restaurant.
“We just don’t know what was happening,” McLaughlin told the news station. “Is it the water? Is it the ice? Is it the food? Is it the food handling? Is it the pesticides? We have no idea what's going on.”
One of the teens, Bennet Hill, said that he started to feel very sick after dinner.
"I just woke up, and my stomach was cramping and I was sweating," Hill told KOCO-TV. "I was freezing."
Hill told the station that six others in the group suffered from the same symptoms and were rushed by ambulance to the hospital.
“We’ve been hooked up to IVs since we first got here with antibiotics, just getting hydrated, anti-nausea medicine,” Hill said.
The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
While none of the cases have been linked, the group's reported illness occurred at the same resort where a U.S. tourist died earlier this year. Robert Bell Wallace, 67, of California, became ill almost immediately after he had a scotch from the room minibar, according to family, and died days later from unknown causes.
Another large group from Oklahoma, a Jimmy Buffett fan club, traveled to the Dominican Republic in April and several members fell ill, suffering from headaches, vomiting, fever, diarrhea and chills. Two members from the group later tested positive for salmonella upon their return home after seeing doctors, the group's travel agent said.
The illnesses also come amid reports of a number of tourist deaths in the Dominican Republic over the past year.
This story was reported from Los Angeles.