Officials representing the Dominican Republic claim all the American tourists who have died in the country over the past year passed away from natural causes, and say reports to the contrary are nothing more than manufactured "hysteria."
What are the details?
A spokesman for the country's Ministry of Health told Fox News Wednesday that both preliminary and final autopsy reports of nine U.S. citizens who recently died at resorts on the island indicate there were no mysterious circumstances surrounding the deaths, despite reports that several victims consumed drinks from their hotel minibars before being found dead.
"It's all a hysteria against the Dominican Republic, to hurt our tourism," spokesman Carlos Suero told the outlet. "This is a very competitive industry and we get millions of tourists, we are a popular destination. People are taking aim at us."
Suero said the government's inspectors tested resorts for any possible links to the slew of reported tourist deaths, but could not find anything out of compliance.
"The testing results are all negative, everything," the spokesman insisted, "The food, the alcohol, the air — is normal, there is no alteration of the alcohol. With all the tourists we get every year, we make sure we comply with international standards for everything."
Suero added, "People die all over the world. Unfortunately, very unfortunately for us, these tourists have died here. We had about 14 deaths last year here of U.S. tourists, and no one said a word. Now everyone is making a big deal of these."
Fox reported that most of the victims died in their rooms after suddenly falling ill, and the official cause of the death for a majority of the deceased was a heart attack. Four of the victims were found to have died with fluid in their lungs.
What is the background?
The Daily Mail reported on eight cases of American tourists who have mysteriously died at five separate Dominican resorts over the past year, and noted that a Louisiana woman died Tuesday — just one week after returning from her honeymoon on the island.
Reports continue to pour in from victims who claim they fell violently ill while vacationing on the island nation, with several blaming drinks from their minibars. Relatives of tourists who have previously died in the Dominican Republic are also coming forward in light of the reports, questioning whether to believe the legitimacy of their loved one's official cause of death.
The FBI is currently assisting Dominican Republic authorities in an investigation into whether the deceased tourists drank tainted alcohol, CNN reported. They are also conducting tests on blood samples from victims.
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