The family of a California man who died of Legionnaires’ disease said he contracted the infection after spending just five minutes in a spa’s hot tub. In an interview with ABC7, Ron Oliver’s family said he got infected with the disease after a July 19 visit to the Zen Day Spa in Richmond, adding that he succumbed to the illness on August 3.
Another individual who visited the spa is said to have also contracted the disease and succumbed to it. Several other people also displayed symptoms of the disease, prompting Contra Costa Health Services to launch a probe into the spa.
“They did discover two more individuals had symptoms and are getting better,” County Supervisor Joh Giola said. Giola also said the spa has since been indefinitely shut down as it was illegally operating.
“My kids know him as Uncle,” Oliver’s friend, Ian McPherson, said. “That is how close we were. We went to Lakeview Elementary together in Oakland. He got me my current job. He is a brother.”
Per the CDC, Legionnaires’ disease is a “serious type of pneumonia (lung infection) caused by Legionella bacteria.” The agency also says people can contract the disease “when they breathe in small droplets of water or accidentally swallow water containing Legionella into the lungs.”
County officials said they are yet to receive test results to verify the disease’s presence in the spa, ABC7 reported. The county also said it is looking into rolling out an app that people can use to report spas they have reservations about.
“It will give the customers the ability to rate a hot tub at one of these facilities when they go in.” A GoFundMe has since been set up to help raise funds for Oliver’s funeral and children. “The loss has left our family shattered, but we are determined to honor Ronald’s memory and provide the best possible future for our children,” the fundraiser states.