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County Health Investigating Legionella Deaths Possibly Linked To Richmond Spa


From Contra Costa Health:

Contra Costa Health (CCH) is investigating two recent deaths associated with legionellosis (Legionnaires’ Disease), potentially linked to visits to the Zen Day Spa at 12230 San Pablo Ave., Richmond.

The deaths were reported to CCH on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning. Investigation of the deaths revealed both patients had reportedly visited the spa just days prior to the onset of their illnesses.

CCH is aware of a third person who was infected with Legionnaires’ Disease after using the jacuzzi tub at the Zen Day Spa in June. That patient recovered.

CCH’s Environmental Health inspectors conducted an assessment of the facility and found no existing records indicating the business has ever been issued a permit for a spa or pool. CCH closed the spa on Friday.

CCH is taking samples of the water at the spa and will send them for lab analysis to confirm the presence of legionella bacteria. Preliminary results are expected by early next week.

Legionnaires’ Disease presents as a severe form of pneumonia that can result in hospitalization, yet is treatable with antibiotics. The incubation period following exposure is typically 2 to 14 days.

CCH encourages anyone who may have recently visited Zen Day Spa to watch for symptoms of Legionnaires’ Disease. If they experience symptoms such as shortness of breath, fever, chills and cough, they should seek immediate medical care.

CCH strongly advises healthcare providers to test for legionella in patients with pneumonia who have visited Zen Day Spa within two weeks of their illness. Testing is also recommended for hospitalized patients with pneumonia of unknown cause.

Legionella bacteria are commonly found in natural freshwater sources such as lakes and streams. However, health concerns arise when these bacteria grow and spread in human-made water systems such as hot tubs.

People can become infected after breathing in small water droplets containing Legionella bacteria, which can become airborne through mist in a hot tub or via the use of hoses and faucets.

Individuals at higher risk of Legionnaires’ Disease include people over 50 years of age, those with a past or current smoking history, individuals with chronic lung disease, or those with a weakened immune system.

It is important to note that Legionnaires’ Disease does not spread from person to person.

CCH is actively working to investigate the source of the potential outbreak and to prevent further cases. Important updates will be posted on the CCH Facebook page at facebook.com/contracostahealth.

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