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Dominican Republic mystery illness: Students fall seriously ill during school trip to country leaving families terrified

Around 40 graduating seniors from Deer Creek High School flew into the tourist destination on June 8 and five of them became seriously ill after eating at a Japanese restaurant at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino
UPDATED JUN 18, 2019

Recent graduates from Deer Creek High School have become the latest group of Americans to mysteriously fall ill in the Dominican Republic. Eight American tourists have died in the Caribbean country in recent months.

Around 40 graduating seniors flew into the tourist destination on June 8 and around five of them became seriously ill after eating at a Japanese restaurant at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, where they are staying, according to reports.

The mother of student Liz McLaughlin said that her daughter Libby was one of the students who have fallen ill. 

The group is confused about what is going on, reported New on 6.

"We just don’t know what is happening. Is it the water? Is it the ice? Is it the food? Is it food handling? Is it the pesticides? We have no idea what’s going on,” McLaughlin said.

Many members of the group were trying to fly out on Friday, Jun 14, she added.  

Benett Hill, who fell ill soon after reaching the spot, said, "I just woke up, and my stomach was cramping and I was sweating," Bennet said. "I was freezing."

He said that six of his group members had the same symptoms and had to be taken to a hospital, he told KOKO.

"We've been hooked up to IVs since we first got here with antibiotics, just getting hydrated," he said. "Anti-nausea medicine, all this stuff because we were just so dehydrated." 

55-year-old Joseph Allen from Avenel, New Jersey, was found dead in his hotel room at Terra Linda in Sosua on June 13 morning, his sister Jaime Reed to ABC.

He became the latest American tourist to die at the popular destination.

According to Reed, her brother was in the Dominican Republic to celebrate a friend's birthday with other friends.

His friend told Reed: "Allen complained about being hot at the pool. He said he was going to his room to take a shower. When his friends came back, he said he wasn't feeling 100% again, and said he was going to lie down for the night. The next morning his friend said he hadn't heard from Joe (Allen) before breakfast, so he knocked on his door and there was no response."