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Legionnaires' disease deaths possibly linked to spa in Richmond

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

RICHMOND -- Contra Costa Health said two people who died from Legionnaires' disease may have contracted the illness from a spa in Richmond.

The public health agency was notified of the deaths on Thursday and Friday. During their investigation, the agency said it learned the two people had visited Zen Day Spa in Richmond just days before becoming sick. 

A third person who became sick after reportedly using the jacuzzi tub at the spa in June was able to make a recovery. 

According to Contra Costa Health, the spa was closed on Friday after an assessment of the facility revealed a permit for a spa or pool was never issued to the business. 

Preliminary results on samples taken from the water at the spa are expected early next week.

Zen Day Spa in Richmond
Photo of Zen Day Spa in Richmond. Google Street View

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

CCH is investigating the source of the potential outbreak to prevent further cases.

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