Man who died of Legionnaires' disease from Bay Area spa was celebrating birthday, official says

ByLeslie Brinkley KGO logo
Tuesday, August 8, 2023
Man who died of Legionnaires from Bay Area spa celebrating birthday
A Richmond spa shut down after health officials announced two people died of Legionnaires' disease after using a hot tub at the facility.

RICHMOND, Calif. (KGO) -- A spa in Richmond was shut down this weekend after Contra Costa Health officials announced that two people died of Legionnaires disease after using a hot tub at the facility.

They are contacting patrons of the Zen Day Spa on San Pablo Ave. in Richmond after two people died of Legionnaires disease late last week after using the hot tub there.

"The widow of one of the men who died told us they had gone with a Groupon coupon, so those may be harder to track down," said John Gioia, Contra Costa County Supervisor.

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Gioia says it was tragic to hear that the woman and her husband intended to celebrate his birthday when he fell ill, but she did not get sick.

"She said the spa look nothing like the fake picture of the spa that was on the window of the facility," Gioia said.

There's no additional information about the other person who died.

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"We're trying to secure things like receipts and appointment books as a way to get in touch with folks that might've been here," said Kim McCarl with Contra Costa Health Services.

Gioia says the spa did not have a health permit.

He is asking the district attorney to determine if there is criminal liability and is calling on health officials to investigate and identify other unpermitted spas in Contra Costa County.

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An outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in Napa County has caused several hospitalizations and one death, a spokesperson for the county said Tuesday.

"I talked to them yesterday and this morning, and they are developing a strategy to most effectively do this because it could take some time," Gioia said.

Meanwhile, health services is encouraging anyone who visited the business in the last two weeks to assess themselves for symptoms, like shortness of breath, cough, and fever, and contact their health provider and the county communicable disease department.

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Health officials confirmed they've tested a pool and hot tub at Aloft San Jose Cupertino after a couple staying at the hotel contracted Legionnaires'.

Legionnaires' disease is caused by a bacteria that's aerosolized in water droplets.

Officials say the indoor spa with a waterfall provided a high-risk environment for the spread of the illness in a closed room. They are looking into other potential shared ventilation systems within the building.

The owner is cooperating in the investigation.

One man recovered after testing positive for Legionnaires' disease in June at the same spa. Results of more detailed water testing are expected later this week.

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