If you are skeeved out by hotel jacuzzis, here’s some fuel for tonight’s nightmares.
Makoto Yamada, the president of a company that owns the 158-year-old Daimaru Besso inn in Japan, apologized after health inspectors discovered that the property only changed the water in its spa bath twice a year — and that it was swarming with potentially deadly bacteria.
We’ll pause to let you shiver or scream in horror.
If twice a year sounds a little bit on the minimal side, that is because it is. CNN Travel reports that local regulations require the water to be changed on a weekly basis. (Which, honestly, still sounds pretty gross to us.)
The bath in question is called an onsen, which uses water from volcanically heated hot springs. In a press conference, Yamada bowed deeply in shame and said, “I am very sorry.”
The inspectors found legionella bacteria in the water, which can cause Legionnaires’ disease. Legionnaires’ is a kind of pneumonia that infects the lungs after droplets of water containing it as inhaled. It is treatable with antibiotics, but a far cry from the Inn’s website promising that the “soft and smooth waters leave your skin feeling supple and your mind at ease.”
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And, wow, there was a lot of it. CNN affiliate TV Asahi reported that inspectors found legionella bacteria at 3,700 times the acceptable level. That is, well, unacceptable.
In his press conference, Yamada claimed that he was surprised by the inspection’s findings: “I was not aware of the law myself and thought that legionella bacteria was a common bacterium that could be found anywhere, and also that it was safe because the large baths were free-flowing so the water was changed quite often.”
Then he added that the bath managers didn’t add chlorine to the water on purpose “because we selfishly disliked the smell of chlorine.”
We’re going to go ahead and suggest that Mr. Yamada stop talking, grab a mop and turn on the sump pump. And when that bath is scrubbed clean? Go ahead and fill it with some volcanic-heated Purell.
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