Valley woman talks about her harrowing ordeal in the Dominican Republic

PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- At least nine American tourists have died in the Dominican Republic over the past 13 months, after they fell ill in the Caribbean nation.

At the same time, the U.S. State Department is reporting statistics that show the threat to tourists in the country might be overblown.

Is that really the case? Not according to one Valley woman who said the Federal government and the Dominican Republic are not doing enough to warn travelers.

Nikki Maurer went to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic last month, during her family's vacation. Five days into her stay, she became seriously ill. It started with stomach pain, but quickly got worse.

"Severe sweating, weakness, numbness in hands and toes, and difficulty walking," said Maurer.

The hotel advised against going to the hospital. So, Maurer used her medical experience as a nurse practitioner to treat herself.

"I knew hydration and electrolytes, so I had my husband purchase Powerade, and I just kept pounding fluids," said Maurer.

Maurer said it wasn't until 10 days after returning home she started feeling normal again. She doesn't think the Dominican Republic or the U.S. has done enough to warn travellers.

"I think its scary nothing is being done about it," said Maurer. "I got lucky and came back alive."

Meanwhile, a Dominican Republic Ministry of Health spokesman told FOX News autopsy reports on the nine dead tourists show they died of natural causes. He said the reports are nothing more than "fake news".

Maurer would disagree. As a nurse practitioner, she made a best guess as to what made her ill.

"Some kind of poisoning," said Maurer. "Nothing made sense. All of the symptoms didn't make sense.