Bay Area spa shut close after customers die from Legionnaires’ disease

2 mins read

Contra Costa Health launched an investigation on a Richmond day spa after two deaths in hospitals. Both patients had visited the spa before becoming ill with Legionnaires’ disease.

According to Contra Costa County health officials, water samples collected from Zen Day Spa’s hot tubs had high levels of legionella bacteria, making it the likely source of the deaths. 

It was also discovered that the spa, located at 12230 San Pablo Avenue, was operating without a health permit and had an illegal hot tub. 

“CCH collected water and swab samples and, while still awaiting final reports from the lab, initial results show high concentrations of legionella bacteria,” health officials announced Monday.

CCH has reached out to more than 30 recent customers of the spa as part of its investigation. 

It is suspected that four more customers had Legionnaires’ disease. 

Legionella bacteria live in freshwater, but the bacteria can grow in hot tubs and pools if the water is not maintained properly. People can be infected with the disease after inhaling mist containing the bacteria. 

Health officials said symptoms include shortness of breath, muscle aches, and fever. The disease can cause serious cases of pneumonia. 

The business voluntarily closed on August 5. 

The county health department issued an abatement order declaring the business a “public nuisance” and ordered the spa to remove its hot tube. The business cannot reopen until it is re-inspected by CCH.

The disease does not spread from person to person.

The public can use CCH’s swimming pool and spa inspection database to see recent inspection results of public pools and hot tubs in Contra Costa County.


Charlene is a Bay Area journalist who hails from the small community of Fresno. Drawing from her experience writing for her college paper, Charlene continues to advocate for free press and local journalism. She also volunteers in all the beach cleanups she can because she loves the water.

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