A medical mystery in Southern California -- dozens of people who attended a tech conference fell ill days after the event ended. About 700 people attended DOMAINfest in Santa Monica, which was highlighted by a party at the Playboy Mansion last Feb 3. By Sunday, people started reporting flu-like symptoms.
David Castello told KTLA News that he became terribly ill 48 hours after the Playboy party. "It hit me and it hit some of my friends... It's an exceptionally vicious situation," Castello said. Some attendees came down with pneumonia and Legionnaires' disease.
It's not clear how many people are sick or the exact cause of the outbreak, but dozens of people have responded to a Facebook page that one of the victims set up. The Web site DN Journal puts the figure in the "triple digits."
The root of the sickness hasn't been established, but L.A. County health officials are investigating. DN Journal wrote:
At first most assumed that was a huge flu outbreak but when it became apparent that just about everyone had fallen ill with the same symptoms at the same time (indicating they were exposed to the infection at the same place) a bacterial infection (likely water borne) became the lead suspect. Especially since people who had gotten flu shots still fell ill and only began recovering after getting antibiotics.
There is also a chance that this is just a flu outbreak:
In addition to the issue of a bacterial infection, remember that it is also quite possible that some of those reporting in sick have a bad case of garden variety influenza that happened to hit them at the same time as others fell ill from something else - we are in the middle of flu season after all. I received a couple of reports today from people saying their spouse's had caught the illness from them.
If you have normal flu that certainly could have happened, but if you have a bacterial infection, that is NOT contagious so no one else is going to get it from you. It is normally contracted by inhaling infected airborne water vapor or mist (which is why many suspect the fog machine in operation at the Playboy Mansion party last Thursday night, though it should be noted, there is no proof of that).
The Centers for Disease Control has also been contacted about the outbreak. So far it has not commented about it.