Social media helps find those sickened by illness spread in Playboy Mansion jacuzzi

Investigators have determined that the illness responsible for sickening over 120 attendees of a Playboy Mansion bash in early February were exposed to the legionella bacteria in a jacuzzi used during the event.

69 of the 123 people who fell ill did so on February 5th, presenting with an illness marked by fever, coughing and other respiratory symptoms. According to the Los Angeles Times, 79 of those who were sickened and reported symptoms were contacted through social media:

The investigation involved an unusual tactic: the use of social media. Health investigators used blogs, Twitter and Facebook and had an online survey sent to all 715 conference attendees, who had traveled from 30 countries, to determine the extent of the outbreak. Seventy-nine people said through social media that they were ill.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health released a statement after announcing their findings Friday:

“Though Legionella bacteria was identified in a water sample taken from the Playboy Mansion, this bacteria has not been determined as the source of the respiratory outbreak. Other potential causes under investigation include influenza, as three individuals who attended the conference tested later positive for the flu. However, the cause of the outbreak has not been conclusively determined at this time,” the statement said.

Three attendees tested positive for H1N1.