Florida Airbnb stay leaves Suffolk woman fighting for life
A woman has been fighting for her life after contracting a fatal disease she believes she caught at an Airbnb hot tub in Florida.
Pamela Farman, from Somerleyton, is still suffering from long-term health issues after being struck down with Legionnaires’ disease in May last year while on holiday in the ‘sunny state’ with her family.
But despite the near-death experience, she says Airbnb was initially reluctant to help or offer a refund.
The company confirmed it was investigating and said customer safety was a top priority.
Ms Farman, 75, said: “The doctor said I was lucky to have survived. I’m still suffering from the scars now and a doctor said I may never fully recover – it seriously reduced my quality of life.”
Ms Farman spent a week in a Florida hospital, undergoing ‘traumatic’ treatment that included an intravenous course of antibiotics and was put on oxygen.
She went home as soon as she was discharged, but when she returned her symptoms did not improve and she spent several more days in James Paget Hospital in Gorleston.
Legionnaires’ disease is a serious type of pneumonia caused by the bacteria Legionella, which poorly maintained spas are often the source of.
It’s rare but can be very serious, according to the NHS, and in recent years a number of holidaymakers have died from it.
The vacation was fraught with problems from the start after the first two Airbnb villas they booked were “dirty” with seaweed in the pool.
They moved to a third villa but within days Mrs Farman had fallen ill.
Her daughter Lindsay Martin added: “Before we knew it mum was in the hospital.
“We immediately called Airbnb to report what had happened so they could clean the pools and hot tubs to prevent further cases.
“Their customer service was horrible and we spent hours communicating with them on an online chat.
“It was incredibly frustrating and they initially refused to accept responsibility or offer us a refund.
“It wasn’t about the money, we didn’t want anyone else getting sick and going through this – people can die from it.
“Airbnb should take more responsibility for how hosts maintain their properties.”
A company spokesperson said: “The safety of our community is our priority. We were concerned to learn of this and are in contact with the guest to support him while we investigate this matter.”
The company said it adheres to “high standards” for hosts and works with security experts around the world to keep guests safe.