Legionnaires' disease outbreak at Disneyland sickens nine visitors

Posted November 13, 2017

Disneyland shut down two water cooling towers after health officials discovered several cases of Legionnaire's disease among people who visited the popular California theme park, authorities said.

According to the paper, the cooling towers in question appear to be associated with the cases of 12 people who spent time in Anaheim and then were discovered to have developed the disease roughly three weeks ago.

Legionnaires' disease is a bacterial lung infection caused by exposure to contaminated water or mist. The Mayo Clinic says it takes two to 10 days for those exposed to show symptoms, which include headaches, chills, fever, and eventually serious respiratory complications.

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Nine had visited the theme park and the other three, including the deceased, lived in Anaheim, but had not visited Disneyland California. Walt Disney Parks and Resorts chief medical officer Dr. Pamela Hymel noted in a statement on the matter that Disney was informed on October 27 about the potential link the park had to the recent Legionnaires' disease reports. Those towers were chemically treated and shut down to eliminate further infection. "There is no known ongoing risk associated with this outbreak", the agency said. The Walt Disney Company is the parent company of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and this station. A Disneyland employee is among those who got sick. Outbreaks often happen in hot tubs, cooling towers and large air-conditioning systems that emit water vapor into the air. Health officials said 10 people were hospitalized, and one person "with additional health issues" died but was not among those who visited Disneyland. Eight of the twelve cases relate to persons visiting Disneyland, as well as someone who worked at the tourist destination.

Through testing, they learned that two water cooling towers had elevated levels of Legionella bacteria.

The county agency issued an order November 8 requiring Disney to take the towers out of service until they are shown to be free from contamination. On Nov. 1, more testing and disinfection was performed and the towers were brought back into service on Nov. 5.