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Richmond spa where 2 customers died of Legionnaire's disease had high levels of bacteria

Richmond spa closed after 2 die from Legionnaires’ disease
Richmond spa closed after 2 die from Legionnaires’ disease 01:15

Water and swab samples from a Richmond spa have been confirmed to contain high levels of legionella bacteria in tests ordered after multiple customers developed Legionnaire's disease, including two people who died.

Contra Costa Health (CCH) said in a press statement Monday that the test results indicate the Zen Day Spa at 12230 San Pablo Ave. is the likely source of the outbreak. Four customers, including the two who died, were confirmed as having the disease. Two other people who also fell ill are suspected of contracting the illness.

CCH said the final reports from the lab are still pending. The agency also noted it never inspected the spa's hot tub and the business had no permit to operate one as is generally required for commercial day spas and massage parlors.

Legionella bacteria, commonly found in natural freshwater sources such as lakes and streams, can cause a severe form of pneumonia when people breathe in contaminated water droplets, such as mist in a hot tub or via the use of hoses, according to CCH.

Legionnaires' disease does not spread from person to person and is treatable with antibiotics. Seniors, smokers, chronic lung disease patients and other immunocompromised individuals are at higher risk.

The health agency is advising anyone who went to the spa to watch for symptoms of Legionnaires' disease, which presents as a "severe form of pneumonia that can result in hospitalization." The incubation period is around two to 14 days.

Symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Cough
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