Playboy Mansion investigated for outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease

Last Updated: Feb 12, 2011, 18:00 PM IST

New York: Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Mansion has come under the scanner after more than 80 guests at a conference and party there became sick with a suspected strain of Legionnaires` disease.

Those who attended the Domainfest conference in Santa Monica, held February 1 to 3, came down with symptoms including fever, respiratory infections and violent headaches.

Four Swedish guests were diagnosed with Legionellosis or pontiac fever, a milder form of Legionnaires` caused by bacteria that thrives in warm air-conditioning systems.

Now some victims are blaming a fog machine, which steamed up the conference finale party on February 3.

"So far, the number of victims is around 80. Everybody says they became ill around 24 hours after the party," the New York Post quoted DNJournal.com editor Ron Jackson, whose wife, Diana, was stricken, as saying.

"Four guys from Sweden were diagnosed with Legionellosis, and they have the same symptoms as everyone else.

"I don’t want to point the finger at the Playboy Mansion, but the disease lives in warm water, and people were engulfed in mist at that party," he stated.

New Yorker Elliot J. Silver, who runs Silver Internet Ventures, also fell prey to the bug.

"It is scary everyone came down with the same thing at the same time. It knocked me on my ass. A lot of people are blaming the Playboy Mansion on the blogs, but you can’t be sure," he said.

A rep for Domainfest said it was working with the LA County Health Department to investigate.

"There were events every night, and we are giving them a list of all the venues. We have no idea what this is or where it came from. The mansion being to blame is, at the moment, pure speculation," the rep said.

A Playboy rep has claimed that there is no truth in the rumour that people caught something at the Playboy Mansion.

"Nor is there any evidence. None of the Playboy staff became ill, the deejay was in the middle of the fog and she didn’t get ill," the rep said.

"We have been contacted by the Health Department and the Playboy Mansion is cooperating fully with the investigation," the rep added.

ANI