BREWER, Maine — Ashley Hare of Brewer has traveled to the Dominican Republic several times. Her most recent trip, last month, was a getaway trip with her girlfriends.
"It was beautiful weather, I mean it's everything you picture it would be," she said.
Towards the end of her week-long trip, she started feeling sick.
"Lots of heartburn and nausea and at one point I had to leave the group of friends to go lay down in the room for several hours."
When she returned home to Maine, her symptoms worsened. She couldn't eat anything without "feeling like death." She described she suffered unbearable stomach cramps and even got sick outside her car on the way to see her doctor.
"Still eventually got myself to the appointment only to be told to go to the emergency room," she said. "It was eventually confirmed that I did have salmonella poisoning."
Hare does not know exactly how she got the poisoning but she says her doctor believes she got it while in the Dominican Republic. She was the only one in her group of friends to get sick.
"It is a huge risk you take when you travel," said Hare. "You can get salmonella pretty much anywhere."
So far this year, nine American tourists have died in the Dominican Republic.
"It was scary," said Hare, who wondered if the deaths and reported illnesses were connected when she saw recent headlines.
The FBI is working with local authorities there and using toxicology tests to see if any of the deaths are connected. The results could take up to a month.
The State Department confirms there is nothing unusual about the number of deaths. According to NBC News, the State Department says it has not seen an uptick in the number of American deaths in the Dominican Republic reported to the department.
The State Department has, however, issued a level two travel advisory for the Dominican Republic for crime.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is also warning travelers to the Dominican Republic about an increase in reported dog and cat bites, animals that could have rabies.
Although Ashley Hare is feeling better she still has many questions about her illness. For now, she's keeping any plans for what would be her fourth trip to the Dominican Republic on the back burner.
"Until they can kind of figure out what's going on with travelers and what's causing all these issues," she said. "I wouldn't ban them off my travel list."