Compost warnings to follow Legionella outbreak

Health warnings on compost packaging are being planned after a spate of cases of Legionella poisoning linked to gardening.

It comes after five cases of Legionella longbeachae were identified in Scotland in just a few months. Four victims have been treated at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and the fifth person’s condition was compostsaid to be improving at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee. Four of those affected are keen gardeners aged between 62-84.

The Scottish Government confirmed yesterday that calls for advisory labels on all compost packaging are being acted upon.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We are already in discussions with Public Health England and other partners about what advice should be distributed on good hygiene in relation to gardening.”

Grotto may be grungy; Legionnella found in Playboy Mansion’s cave

The L.A. Times reports the bacteria that cause Legionnaires’ disease have been found in the Playboy Mansion’s grotto, the famed artificial cave that houses a whirlpool spa (right, the precise location the bacterium was found).

The bacteria, legionella pneumophila, are a suspect in the illnesses among attendees of a DomainFest fundraiser at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles on Feb. 3.

Previously, health authorities had said only that the bacteria legionella pneumophila were identified at a whirlpool spa at the Playboy Mansion. The precise location of that spa was made public during a presentation by Dr. Caitlin Reed at a conference of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta last week. The Times reviewed a copy of the presentation on Friday.

In her presentation, Reed presented data showing that among everyone who attended the conference, the highest risk of illness was found to be in people who attended the Playboy Mansion party on Feb. 3, as opposed to people who attended parties at hotels.

Reed presented a classic whodunit public disease investigation in her presentation. Twitter, Facebook and an online poll were key tools to help scientists track down the source of illness.

Reed’s presentation on the role of social media in helping to crack a case is available at

Los Angeles County health officials were spurred into action on Feb. 11 after receiving a call from a journalist about the large number of illnesses following a DomainFest convention on Feb. 1-3; many attendees had begun writing on blogs and social media about widespread illnesses among conference attendees.

Reed said social media were helpful in the disease investigation, which helped investigators identify the outbreak quickly, enabling them to receive responses quickly from attendees, who had traveled from 30 countries; and allowed for the issuing of speedy recommendations for patients to receive lab testing.

There were some negative side effects, the presentation said, including “wasted effort responding to rumors” and that it “amplified inaccurate media stories.”

Playboy Mansion bacteria points to Legionnaires’ disease outbreak

Los Angeles County public health officials have identified Legionella bacteria, which causes Legionnaires’ disease, at a water source at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles in its investigation of the source of illness that sickened people after a fundraiser earlier this month.

Public health officials have suspected Legionnaires’ disease in the outbreak, a disease spread by bacteria that causes respiratory illness, such as a cough, and malaise, chills and fever.

Officials, however, have not ruled out other bacteria or viruses, because Legionella bacteria are commonly found in moist environments, Dr. Jonathan Fielding, director of the county Department of Public Health, said in a statement.

Health officials have said that the people fell ill after they attended DomainFest’s Feb. 1-3 conference, which culminated with a fundraiser at the Playboy Mansion in the Holmby Hills area of Los Angeles.

DomainFest released a statement Tuesday that urged those who attended the Feb. 3 fundraising event at the Playboy Mansion to fill out a confidential survey to assist health officials with their investigation.

1 dead, 2 sick in Florida after drinking contaminated hotel water

A Miami hotel has been evacuated after 1 guest died and 2 more fell ill from drinking contaminated water.

The hotel in question here is the Luxury Epic Hotel in downtown Miami, home to more than 300 guests at the time of the evacuation.

On Sunday, all guests were relocated to surrounding hotels, following the discovery of the cluster of cases of people falling ill.

It is yet to be confirmed that there was Legionella bacteria in water at the hotel, but health officials are confident that this indeed is the problem.

The fatality was reported in a man who stayed at the hotel 3 months ago, and was recently just learned of by health officials.