A deadly infection claimed the life of a "beautiful and caring" woman on her birthday.

On Christmas Eve Lynne Crouch was taken ill at her Dominican Republic hotel where she was enjoying a Christmas getaway with her husband Peter.

The Greensted Road, Loughton mum was rushed first to Punta Cana medical centre to be diagnosed with entamoeba histolytica - a deadly infection which kills 50 million people worldwide each year - and then to a large hospital in the capital Santo Domingo.

There the doctors identified the large blotches on her arms a meningococcemia, a blood disease caused by the virus associated with meningitis.

After almost a week of battling the infection Mrs Crouch died in quarantine at around 5pm on December 30 - her birthday.

Speaking in the hours after he death Mr Crouch said: "Our Lynne was the most beautiful and amazingly caring person.

"She brought life, light and sunshine into the lives of everybody who had the honour of meeting her.

"She has cared for people the whole of her life and we have lost someone who is truly irreplaceable.

"She will be beyond missed and our lives will never bee the same."

The disease first took hold the day before Christmas when Mrs Crouch woke feeling nauseous and dizzy.

Having stayed in bed at the Hotel Rui until her check-out time of 2pm, she went to the reception where she collapsed and was sick.

Writing his diary by her bedside Mr Crouch explained: "Lynne does not know who I am and says she can't see, only bright lights.

"Her head drops and becomes limp. The vomiting and diarrhoea is constant.

"Lynne becomes covered in mauve blotches and I am told her health is a 'grave matter'.

"I stay with Lynne all night and watch as she can't hear or see me and I just hold her hand and wait for the morning."

When night had passed a doctor took Mrs Crouch to a hospital in the capital Santo Domingo, with Mr Crouch following behind on a $200 taxi ride.

There her diagnoses was changed to meningococcemia.

"Lynne has a different medication and looks at me and smiles," Mr Crouch added.

"I just break down as I have my Lynne back.

"Lynne knows who I am but can't hear me or talk."

With Mrs Crouch still critically ill, her husband set about arranging an air ambulance to a hospital in Miami and applying for American visas.

The helicopter arrived but before the RMT Union worker could be taken onboard the paramedics she was too weak to make the trip.

As Mrs Crouch laid immobilised and quarantined, Mr Crouch hoped doctors in Miami can convince an airline to get her on board.

Mr Crouch said: "I am really lost and out of my depth.

"I feel so useless."

Mr Crouch now has to begin the process of repatriating his wife's body.

A spokesperson for TUI UK - the travel agent which runs the Rui Hoel where the Crouchs were staying, said: "We were so sorry to hear of Mrs Crouch becoming ill while on holiday in the Dominican Republic and are truly saddened to learn that Mrs Crouch has now passed away.

"Our thoughts remain with her family and friends during this tragic time.

"We are working hard to support Mr Crouch in any way we can and we will arrange for him to fly home together with his family members who have joined him, as soon as possible."