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L.A. County health officials investigating dozens of illnesses reported by visitors to the Playboy Mansion


Hugh Hefner's legendary Playboy Mansion is the focus of a Los Angeles County Department of Public Health investigation after reports that dozens of visitors contracted a mysterious respiratory illness after attending a fund-raiser there earlier this month.

The Feb. 3 event at the Westwood mansion was part of the annual DOMAINfest Global conference. This year’s gathering was held the first week of February at the Fairmount Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica.

The health department sent an e-mail Friday to all attendees warning them that they had received a cluster of reports that people had become ill after attending the conference and the Playboy Mansion event. The e-mail asked recipients to fill out a survey. The reports of illness complained of respiratory problems, including pneumonia.

David Castello, 54, who co-founded Castello Cities Internet Network Inc. with his brother Mike, said he and his brother were among those who attended the conference and visited the mansion fundraiser. Castello said he became ill  a day after the event. “It knocked me off my feet for five days,” Castello said. “I’m over it now, but I’m still feeling fatigue, which is not a good thing.”

For the last few days Castello said he had been recovering from a fever, a dry cough, headaches and back spasms.  He said his brother, who was mostly outside on the night of the event, did not get sick.  Attendees of the fund-raisers have logged onto Facebook to report their illnesses. Many suspect their symptoms are related to Legionellosis, or Pontiac fever— a milder form of Legionnaires’ disease, which is caused by bacteria living in warm air-conditioning systems.

Many of those who became ill said they suspect a fog machine that was used at the party.

Roughly 700 people attended the conference from 30 countries, according to organizers. “It’s the perfect storm to spread this,” Castello said.

Domainfest has not responded to an e-mail request for comment by The Times.  A Playboy rep told the New York Post that the Playboy Mansion has been contacted by the health department and is cooperating fully with the investigation.

-- Ruben Vives

Photo: Playboy Mansion. Credit: L.A. Times

Comments () | Archives (5)

That sound's just like what I picked up on a recent flight from Chicago to Maui via San Francisco. My doctor said it was H1N1 but it ruined my vacation, I was sick for five days.

yuck.....nasty nasty NASTY!

Unfortunately, this is not the only illness that spreads from that mansion, the embodiment of materialism, sexism and humanistic abuse. Sorry Hef, but I lost all respect for you when you dropped the beautiful mother of your sons, bought her the house next door and- cycle after cycle- posed as "daddy" with an endless line of multiple 20-somethings from the weeds .

Don't want to seem judgmental but IRRESPONSIBLY mixing GOD's created technology with the DEVIL's sin on earth like at the Playboy Mansion is NOT a good idea!! Bad SPIRIT and KARMA there and against the word of the Lord Jesus Christ! John: 3:16 You must be born again!

I just traveled to LA on business Feb. 6th - 11th. Became deathly sick on Tuesday respiratory problems by Friday it was pneumonia. Im still not feeling right now it knocked me out for 6 days still not right. I think its California.


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