A U.S. couple have died from a mysterious illness during a dream holiday to Fiji.
David and Michelle Paul, of Fort Worth, became sick after arriving on the tropical island in the South Pacific sometime between May 22 and 25.
“They were planning an incredible vacation”, said Tracey Calanog, Michelle Paul’s sister-in-law.
David was a veteran of the Air Force and Michelle was a former student athlete, according to the latter’s sister-in-law Tracey Calanog.
An investigation into the cause of their deaths is ongoing, but a recent World Health Organization alert warns of a deadly influenza strain, including in Fiji where it is “particularly affecting young adults”.
The US Embassy in Fiji, who were contacted for comment by KVUE, didn’t comment specifically on the couple’s death, but said there has been warnings of a risky flu affecting the island nation.
It’s believed the couple from Fort Worth had been planning their “amazing vacation” to Fiji for quite some time, leaving behind their two-year-old son and a daughter from David Paul’s previous relationship with family in the USA for the two week trip.
Michelle was believed to have died first. We appreciate the efforts made thus far by the Fijian authorities and stand ready to provide further assistance, if requested.
She said the couple’s remains can not be returned to the United States until a cause of death is determined. “At this point, we are not aware of any specific public-health threat to the community”. If it is an infectious disease, their bodies will have to be cremated. The couple shared a 2-year-old son together and had spent a long time planning their long-awaited trip to the remote island.
“They were planning an wonderful vacation”, Calanog said.
Zooey now lives at home with Calanog and her husband and serves as a reminder that a piece of Michelle and David will always be with them. “We know Michelle and David are with us in Zooey”.