Playboy Mansion Outbreak Claims 170 Victims

Health officials suspect that those who fell ill contracted legionellosis at a Feb. 3 fundraiser at Hugh Hefner's home.

Health officials said Monday that 170 people have become sick after attending or working at a fundraising event at the Playboy Mansion earlier this month, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Officials from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said they suspect an outbreak of legionellosis, or Pontiac fever, following the Feb. 3 fundraiser at Hugh Hefner's Holmby Hills, Calif., home. The event was held in conjunction with the annual DOMAINfest Global conference at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica.

Those who have gotten sick are experiencing "symptoms mostly consisting of fever, chills, general discomfort (malaise) and some cough," according to the public health department.

Officials added that they do not believe the outbreak has spread beyond those involved with the event.

Legionellosis is a milder form of Legionnaires' disease; it's caused by bacteria that grow in warm water, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

The public health department was first notified Friday of a "suspected respiratory infection outbreak" among those involved with the confab.

"I'd like to know what took away a week of my life," attendee David Castello, who got sick after the event, told the Times. "They just need to find out where and when it started. Now it's like a big mystery; everyone wants to know."

Reps for Playboy and the Fairmont did not return the Times' requests for comment Monday.