Legionnaires' disease outbreak at Disneyland sickens nine visitors

Legionnaires' disease outbreak at Disneyland sickens nine visitors

Legionnaires' disease outbreak at Disneyland sickens nine visitors

Disneyland shutdown two cooling towers this week after a small number of visitors to the park were sickened with Legionnaires' disease, park officials told The Hollywood Reporter.

Besides the nine cases, three other people who lived in or traveled to Anaheim developed the disease, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency, as reported by the Los Angeles Times. The Anaheim outbreak includes patients between ages 52 to 94.

"On Oct. 27, we learned from the Orange County Health Care Agency of increased Legionnaires' disease cases in Anaheim", said a statement from Dr. Pamela Hymel, chief medical officer for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

Two are Anaheim residents, five were visitors who stayed in Anaheim between 9/12 and 9/27, and one works in Anaheim but lives in another county. That person did not visit Disneyland, she said. The health agency says there haven't been any new cases reported.

Nine people contracted Legionnaires' disease after they visited Disneyland in Anaheim in September, officials said.

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When Legionella bacterial levels are high, it can be transmitted through inhalation of contaminated water vapor. Infected persons often have pneumonia and may need to be hospitalized.

The disease is treatable, but roughly one in 10 people who contract the disease die from it, with people over 50 with weakened immune systems or chronic lung disease most at risk. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notified county officials of the outbreak among people who had traveled to Orange County. The park and a contractor tested the cooling towers and found elevated levels of Legionella bacteria. The towers were chemically treated to combat the problem, and there is no ongoing threat to guests' health, the Register reports.

In a statement, Dr. Pamela Hymel, chief medical officer for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, said Disneyland learned about the Legionnaires' cases on October 27.

On Tuesday, Disney took the towers down again because the health agency ordered them to verify they were free of the Legionella contamination.

Legionnaires' disease is a severe lung infection caused by exposure to contaminated water or mist.

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