An autopsy will be conducted on Simoneaux’s body to determine a cause of death.
Simoneaux is the 10th American to die this year after visiting the Dominican Republic, according to media reports. Dozens more have fallen sick.
At least three other Americans who died in the Dominican Republic were found to have fluid in their lungs, according to previous Cox Media Group reports. Other decedents had heart attacks, or reportedly drank from a minibar before falling ill.
John Trestrail, a forensic and clinical toxicologist who runs the Center for the Study of Criminal Poisoning in Los Lunos, New Mexico, has been following the reports, The Advocate reported. Trestrail originally thought the problem may be carbon monoxide poisoning, or possibly pesticide poisoning. Now, he thinks Legionnaire’s disease may be to blame.
“There’s something going on," he said. "It’s a hell of a coincidence to have that many people deceased.”
More than two million U.S. residents visit the Dominican Republic each year, The Advocate reported. In a statement earlier this month, Dominican Republic tourism officials called the deaths “isolated incidents.”
Carlos Suero, spokesman for the Dominican Republic Ministry of Public Health, told Fox News Wednesday that reports of the rash of deaths in the country are "fake news."
“It’s all a hysteria against the Dominican Republic, to hurt our tourism. This is a very competitive industry and we get millions of tourists. We are a popular destination,” Suero said. “People are taking aim at us.”