People Contract Legionnaire's Disease After Visiting Disneyland

People Contract Legionnaire's Disease After Visiting Disneyland

Ronald Pratt
November 13, 2017

Health officials are investigating 12 cases of Legionnaires' disease traced to Anaheim, California, including nine cases among visitors to Disneyland in September.

One of the three cases of the respiratory illness not linked to Disneyland was fatal in an individual who had additional health issues, said Jessica Good of the Orange County Health Care Agency. The victims' ages range from 52 to 94.

The outbreak was traced to the convention hotel's air conditioning system, and Legionnaire's disease has since been sourced to contaminated water or mist.

Legionnaires' disease appear to be on the rise, with Orange County reporting more than 55 cases this year.

According to Dr. Pamela Hymel, chief medical officer for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, the towers were shut down after Disney was contacted by the county health care agency on October 27 about increased Legionnaires' cases in Anaheim.

"These towers were treated with chemicals that destroy the bacteria and are now shut down", said Hymel. "There is no longer any known risk associated with our facilities". In this photo, English-Irish boy band The Wanted performs "Santa Claus is Coming To Town" while taping the Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade TV special at the Magic Kingdom park at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, Dec. 6, 2013. A Disneyland employee is among those who got sick.

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Twelve people in the Anaheim region have been affected by the disease, including one who died.

The towers are located near the New Orleans Square Train Station in the theme park.

Health officials subsequently issued an order that the towers remain shut down until they are verified to be free from contamination.

The park and a contractor tested the cooling towers and found elevated levels of Legionella bacteria.

It is treated with antibiotics, which can improve symptoms and shorten the length of illness. It brought the towers back into service November 5, but two days later, they were taken out of service again, she said.