Caribbean Expert Points to Mosquito Disinfectant as Possible Cause of Mysterious Deaths of Tourists in Dominican Republic

In this April 5, 2017 photo, men fish at Fray Anton de Montesinos beach in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The colonization of the Americas began in Santo Domingo, which was founded in 1496 by Christopher Columbus' brother Bartolome and features the continent's first cathedral, first hospital and first university. (AP Photo/Tatiana Fernandez)
In this April 5, 2017 photo, men fish at Fray Anton de Montesinos beach in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The colonization of the Americas began in Santo Domingo, which was founded in 1496 by Christopher Columbus’ brother Bartolome and features the continent’s first cathedral, first hospital and first university. (AP Photo/Tatiana Fernandez)

The Dominican Republic had the highest percentage of returning tourists to the envy of other Caribbean island nations.

But that’s not likely to happen this year, said an expert in Caribbean and Latin American history, on the heels of a Wilmington woman being brutally attacked, Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz being shot in the back at a bar, and a handful of mysterious tourist deaths and illnesses reported on the island nation.

But Franklin Knight, a professor emeritus of history at Johns Hopkins University, also pointed out that visits to destinations in the Caribbean have risen tremendously.

“It’s not surprising–the amount of tourists in the Dominican Republic [DR] each year, in the last two years, is almost the total population of the Dominican Republican–six or seven million–so that’s a lot,” he said.  “so I think with the greater volume, you’re going to get greater incidents of all sorts,” he said.

He said general violence among tourists has also increased across the Caribbean, with the exception of Cuba.

He pointed to outbreaks of viral infections with indeterminate sources.

“On the cruise ships it’s obvious sometimes what causes it, but in the hotels on land it’s a little more difficult, and in the case of the Dominican Republic, it’s curious, because most often these are not fatal, and what we have in the DR is an unusually high fatality rate among the tourists,” said Knight.

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SOURCE: Amy Cherry, WDEL