Fatal cases of Legionnaires’ Disease possibly linked to Richmond day spa: Authorities

A day spa in Richmond is possibly linked to two recent deaths associated with legionellosis, or Legionnaires’ Disease, health authorities announced today.

Two people fell ill and died just days after visiting the Zen Day Spa at 12230 San Pablo Ave., Richmond, according to Contra Costa Health. Their deaths were reported to the county on Thursday and Friday. A third person who used a jacuzzi at the spa in June was later found positive with Legionnaires’ Disease, but recovered.

Inspectors from the county’s environmental-health unit found no records that Zen Day Spa ever had a permit for a spa or pool. They took samples of water at the spa, and will likely know if it contained legionella bacteria by early next week. The county closed the business on Friday.

Authorities are urging people who’ve visited Zen Day Spa recently to be on the lookout for pneumonia-like symptoms of Legionnaires’ Disease, which include shortness of breath, fever, chills and coughing. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek immediate medical care, they said.

The incubation period from point of exposure ranges from 2 to 14 days. It does not spread from person to person, and is treatable with antibiotics.

Legionella bacteria exist in the natural freshwater environments and can pose a health risk when they enter human settings like spas and pools. People become infected when breathing in contaminated water droplets. Those most at risk include people over 50, past and present smokers, and those with chronic lung disease or weakened immune systems.

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