Scores of attendees at the Domainfest conference in Santa Monica, held Feb. 1 to 3, came down with symptoms including fever, respiratory infections and violent headaches. Four Swedish guests were diagnosed with Legionellosis or pontiac fever -- a milder form of Legionnaires' caused by bacteria that thrives in warm air-conditioning systems.
Jackson said, "Four guys from Sweden were diagnosed with [Legionellosis], and they have the same symptoms as everyone else. I don't want to point the finger at the Playboy Mansion, but the disease lives in warm water, and people were engulfed in mist at that party." He's filed a report with the CDC.
New Yorker Elliot J. Silver, who runs Silver Internet Ventures, also fell prey to the bug. He said, "It is scary everyone came down with the same thing at the same time. It knocked me on my ass. A lot of people are blaming the Playboy Mansion on the blogs, but you can't be sure."
A rep for Domainfest said it was working with the LA County Health Department to investigate: "There were events every night, and we are giving them a list of all the venues. We have no idea what this is or where it came from. The mansion being to blame is, at the moment, pure speculation."
A Playboy rep claimed, "There is no truth in the rumor that anyone caught anything at the Playboy Mansion. Nor is there any evidence. None of the Playboy staff became ill, the deejay was in the middle of the fog and she didn't get ill. We have been contacted by the Health Department and the Playboy Mansion is cooperating fully with the investigation.