BY TRACY PFEIFFER
ANCHOR CHANCE SEALES
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It seems what happens at the Playboy Mansion doesn’t stay there... In February, a mysterious illness struck 123 people after a party at the notorious bachelor pad --
-- and now, LA county health officials have confirmed the presence of a potentially dangerous bacteria in the mansion’s whirlpool spa. The bacteria is legionella, which can cause the potentially fatal Legionnaire’s disease or a milder form called Pontiac fever. (Video: The Daily Buzz)
Legionella has been the suspected culprit since the story first broke. In February, KTLA spoke to a doctor who explains how it travels -- and why investigators checked the famed Grotto.
“It’s waterborne, so you get it from inhaling the mist from either hot tubs or showers or from air conditioning where it’s contaminated -- the water’s contaminated with the bacteria. … If the water pipes have not been cleaned, then it can grow in there, especially in warm water.”
There were a lot of people at the party where the bacteria spread. So how did health officials find out just who got sick? The LA Times explains.
“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.”
But while some media are reporting the Playboy Mansion is the definite source of the outbreak, LA County health officials say it’s not as clean-cut as that.
“Other potential causes under investigation include influenza, as three individuals who attended the conference tested later positive for the flu."(KXAS)
As the story has developed, some media personalities couldn’t help but have a little fun at the expense of Playboy -- like hosts from The Morning Show with Gary Bryan on KCBS.
KENT SHOCKNEK, ANCHOR: “Doesn’t Hefner have to put up one of those signs that says ‘Capacity: 7’?”
GARY BRYAN, RADIO HOST: “Yeah, really -- how did 120 people get in the hot tub, Kent, that’s what I want to know!”
LISA STANLEY, RADIO HOST:“I’m surprised that’s all they got from the hot tub!”
GARY BRYAN, RADIO HOST: “Isn’t it shocking that the hot tub at the Playboy Mansion may not be entirely free of viruses and bacteria?”
LISA STANLEY, RADIO HOST: “Bring this with you if you’re going to the mansion, that’s all I’m saying.”
GARY BRYAN, RADIO HOST: “Bring your spray, bring your wipes.”
Finally, a former Playmate tells MSNBC, while she never expected something like this to happen -- she isn’t all that surprised.
IZABELLA ST. JAMES: “There’s so many water sources at the mansion, you know. We have the grotto, which is constantly evaporating, there’s pools, there’s actually a pond which has wildlife in it, so it’s not that surprising that something like that developed. I think it’s quite possible and so many people go through that house.”
A fog machine used at the party has also been identified as a possible source of bacteria.
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