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Playboy Mansion outbreak: Bacteria traced to whirlpool spa [Updated]

Health officials identified legionella bacteria in a whirlpool spa at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles during an investigation in February that began when people were sickened after attending a fundraiser.

A number of people came down with a respiratory illness after DomainFest's Feb. 1-3 conference, which culminated in a fundraiser at the Playboy Mansion in the Holmby Hills area of Los Angeles. Officials investigated to see if legionellosis was at fault; the more severe version of that illness is known as Legionnaires' disease, while a milder version is called Pontiac fever.

Out of 439 people contacted by L.A. County public health officials, 123 fell sick with fever and at least one other symptom, such as headache, cough, shortness of breath, or aches. Sixty-nine people got sick  on the same day, Feb. 5.

The investigation involved an unusual tactic: the use of social media. Health investigators used blogs, Twitter and Facebook and had an online survey sent to all 715 conference attendees, who had traveled from 30 countries, to determine the extent of the outbreak. Seventy-nine people said through social media that they were ill.

Although several attendees indicated that they were diagnosed with legionellosis, county health officials were unable to verify the diagnosis through laboratory analysis. Three attendees, however, did test positive for the H1N1 flu.

Nonetheless, because legionella bacteria were found at the Playboy Mansion, officials concluded that exposure to the Playboy Mansion "was associated with increased risk for illness," potentially involving either the Legionella pneumophila bacterium or the flu.

[Updated, 10:30 p.m.: Late Friday, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health released a statement on the identification of the bacteria:

“Though Legionella bacteria was identified in a water sample taken from the Playboy Mansion, this bacteria has not been determined as the source of the respiratory outbreak. Other potential causes under investigation include influenza, as three individuals who attended the conference tested later positive for the flu. However, the cause of the outbreak has not been conclusively determined at this time,” the statement said. “Investigations such as this one can take several months.]

The results were made public Friday in a presentation by L.A. County health officials at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's annual Epidemic Intelligence Service conference in Atlanta.


Parents reminded to have their teens immunized

USC official explains how wrong patient received kidney

-- Rong-Gong Lin II

Photo: A view of the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles. Credit: Fred Prouser / Reuters

Comments () | Archives (33)

Can you imagine what goes on in the whirlpool?

That should tell ya something about what was doing in that spa.

If that is all you catch from the Mansions pool then you are lucky.

Big suprise.

Just plain yucky.

It is not surprising that a hot tub is involved. Those things are notoriously difficult to keep clean of pathogens. Imagine bubbling water at 100F with a variety of people entering and exiting.. People commonly use strong chemicals like chlorine and bromine to keep it under control but even then, it is very difficult.

Yuk, those women are gross anyway in my opinion. Nothing more disgusting than some broad trying soo hard to look "beautiful". Phonies. did i mention gross?Lay with dogs, you get flees? Prolly not sexually related but still....gross

They're lucky that's all they got.

Infectious bacteria in the Playboy mansion spa, this is really news to anyone?

Don't they have enough money to maintain that dump? Who reads Playboy these days, anyway?

Who's going to take the 1st dip after some gov'ment bureaucrat certifies it safe?


I guess the Playboy Mansion is filthy with dog urine and feces, filthy carpets. Spooge infested hotubs. It just goes to show that money can't buy everything.

Check them for STD's while your at it - can you imagine the HIV infected bodily fluids swirling around in that cesspool....... yuck!!!!


The wages of sin.

Um... "Yuck", and "Surprise?"

That whole mansion is probably rampant with all sorts of diseases, they should have the health dept go in with some CSI equipment.
I wouldn't drink a glass of water out of that place.

That's Crazy, Sounds like the pool guy isn't doing his job properly or wasn't prepared for the amount of people to hit the hot tub. One who used to clean and maintain water chemistry. It only takes 20 to 30 people to seriously impact the effectiveness of the water chemistry at fighting water borne bacteria and viruses. The Playboy Mansion pool, based on what we all know happens in this Cave should have an updated chlorination system. A system that trickles chemicals into the water to alleviate heavy usage. The Cave I might add contributes to the spread of bacteria due in part to poor ventilation, and if it's in the air it's carried by the steam vapor right into the lungs.

Diseases have been rampant at the Playboy mansion since it was built.

Yup, when the PIGS "woller in the mud holler" you get some interesting results. I'm just surprised it took this long.

From what I have read the playboy mansion is a filthy dump inside where dogs use the floor as a toilet and a doddering old degenerate pays a dozen or so young tramps to service him.
Does it really surprise anyone that the place is a bacterial pest hole.

This has nothing to do with what goes on in the spa (albeit it's probably considerable). What it means is that Hefner isn't having it serviced properly if this bacteria is present, and lucky for his guests, this stuff didn't kill them.

Cough up the big bucks, Hef and service your stuff. You might want to check out your airconditioning units too, while you're at it. Dead people aren't sexy.

Another case solved.

pig sty is a pig sty...


What would you expect with thousands of whores passing through the building?? Sanitary conditions??? Hardly.

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