Nearly 70 tourists have reported getting violently ill while vacationing in the Dominican Republic since March, according to a commonly used website that tracks food-borne illness outbreaks.
That’s up from just 10 reported illnesses in the country for all of 2018, according to iwaspoisoned.com. In June alone, 52 tourists reported symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea and fever.
More than 45 of them identified themselves as guests at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana.
“People report food-borne illnesses but it’s possible that they experienced some other type of contamination,” said Patrick Quade, founder of iwaspoisoned.com, adding that he consulted with scientists regarding his findings.
“We started to see unusual activity in April when six people reported being ill on the island, but in June it exploded,” Quade said.
One expert Quade consulted, Lee-Ann Jaykus, a food microbiologist in the department of food science at North Carolina State University, said exposure to an insecticide chemical known as organophosphate could result in severe vomiting and diarrhea, but in dire cases it could cause a cardiac crisis.