A group of Jimmy Buffett fans are adding themselves to the list of reports of serious illnesses and deaths at hotels in the Dominican Republic.
Several member of the Central Oklahoma Parrothead Association (COPA) told Oklahoma TV station KFOR and NBC News that they became seriously ill while staying at the Hotel Riu Palace Macao in Punta Cana in April.
“By mid-week, people began to get sick and were missing events and we began to wonder what was going on,” COPA member Dana Flowers told NBC News. “Most people initially thought it was food poisoning.”
Flowers, who told KFOR that he lost 14 pounds as a result of his illness, says he was one of 47 travelers who got sick, out of the 114 members who traveled there. He told NBC that they experienced similar symptoms, including fever, dizziness and “crippling diarrhea.”
A common thread among the deaths reported so far: At least two of the victims had drunk from their hotel room minibar. But while Flowers says other COPA members partook, he didn’t and still got sick.
More Dominican Republic: Incidents involving American tourists raise safety concerns
The group’s website calendar confirms COPA members visited the the Hotel Riu Palace Macao from April 13-20. USA TODAY has reached out to group members for comment.
In a statement, the hotel’s communications manager, told USA TODAY, “We are aware that three guests staying last April at this hotel and coming from the same group (of 120 people) were attended by a possible case of gastroenteritis in our doctor’s office.”
However, he noted, “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.
Having said that, no more similar cases were registered by other guests during the indicated date above.”
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