Playboy Mansion Illness: Possible Cause Identified By Health Department

02/14/2011 05:23 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

UPDATE: The LA Times reports on a possible cause of the mysterious outbreak at the Playboy mansion:

The possible outbreak of legionellosis, or Pontiac fever, affected people connected with the DOMAINfest Global Conference, "with symptoms mostly consisting of fever, chills, general discomfort (malaise) and some cough," according to a statement by the county Department of Public Health.

Hugh Hefner addressed the issue on Twitter:

Despite rumors, there is no real evidence that anyone got I'll at the Playboy Mansion, but we're cooperating with health officials...Those taken ill were members of a DOMAIN-fest Global Conference held at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel that ended with a Playboy party...With no evidence to the contrary, the Health Department has approved a party previously scheduled here for this Saturday.


Original Story
LOS ANGELES (AP) A mysterious illness sickened about 170 people attending a global Internet conference in Southern California, but it was unclear if a party at the Playboy Mansion played any role in spreading it, health officials said Monday.

The Los Angeles County's Department of Public Health said it learned Friday that people who attended the DOMAINfest Global conference in Santa Monica had come down with a suspected respiratory infection.

The agency contacted everyone associated with the conference, and so far about 170 people have reported fever, chills, coughs or other signs of illness.

The type of illness and source of exposure remained under investigation.

The conference ran from Feb. 1-3 and drew some 700 people from 30 countries to lectures and attend workshops in Santa Monica.

Nighttime events included a Polynesian-themed pool and garden party, a networking event at the famed Los Angeles Skybar, and a Feb. 3 charity fundraiser at the Playboy Mansion in Holmby Hills.

"At this time, public health has not determined that the source of exposure is limited to a specific location," the agency's statement said.

The Playboy Mansion was cooperating fully with the health investigation, said an e-mail from Teri Thomerson, spokeswoman for Playboy Enterprises Inc.

Health officials said it appeared the illness was confined to the conference-goers.

Because many live outside of Los Angeles County, officials were investigating in cooperation with health departments in surrounding counties, the state Department of Public Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.