KTLA reports that the number of people who became sick after attending or working at a party at the Playboy Mansion has climbed to 200.
And according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health investigators have focused on the Playboy event as they look for the cause of the sickness.
Health officials say the possible outbreak of legionellosis, or Pontiac fever, affected people connected with the DOMAINfest Global Conference held at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows in Santa Monica on Feb. 1-3.
The 3-day conference took place at the Fairmont Hotel in Santa Monica.
On the second night, there was a party at the Sky Bar on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood, and on the third night, the finale party took place at the iconic Playboy Mansion.
Within 48 hours after leaving the mansion, scores of attendees reported coming down with symptoms including fever, respiratory problems and violent headaches.
“The department is investigating several locations associated with this conference, including the Playboy Mansion in Holmby Hills,” the statement said.
“At this time, Public Health has not determined that the source of exposure is limited to a specific location. The department is working to conclusively identify the source of exposure and the likely cause of illness for this suspected outbreak.”
According to the LA Times, the LA Co. Dept. of Public Health sent out an e-mail on Friday to all the attendees warning them that they had received a cluster of reports of people becoming ill after attending the conference and the Playboy Mansion event.
Pontiac fever is a mild from of legionellosis – the severe form is called Legionnaires disease.
The condition is caused by a bacteria, usually only last for 2 to 5 days and treatment is generally unnecessary.
Symptoms include fever, headache and muscle ache.
Infection usually occurs by breathing in mist from a water source contaminated with the bacteria such as hot tubs, air conditioning systems and showers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The bacteria are not spread from person to person, according to the CDC, but are instead inhaled in water vapor.
Some of those who became ill said they suspected a fog machine that was used at the party.
The county Department of Public Health is investigating several locations associated with the conference, including the Playboy Mansion. “At this time, Public Health has not determined that the source of exposure is limited to a specific location. The department is working to conclusively identify the source of exposure and the likely cause of illness for this suspected outbreak,” according to a statement released by the agency on Monday.
A rep for Playboy told the New York Post that, “There is no truth in the rumor that anyone caught anything 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. We have been contacted by the Health Department and the Playboy Mansion is cooperating fully with the investigation.”
DOMAINfest organizers say an estimated 700 people from 30 countries attended the 3-day conference.