Disneyland Is Source Of Legionnaire's Disease Outbreak


Disneyland has shut down two cooling towers that were found to have high levels of Legionella bacteria after several visitors to the theme park in Anaheim, Orange County, the United States, were sickened with Legionnaires' disease.

A dozen cases of the bacterial illness were discovered approximately three weeks ago, the Orange County Health Care Agency confirmed to The Associated Press.

The 12 cases range in age from 52 to 94, Good said. Eight of the cases involve people visiting Disneyland and one person worked at the park. One patient, who hadn't visited the park, has died, the agency said.

Disneyland was informed of the Anaheim cases on October 27 and after testing found that two cooling towers had 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.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Legionella is a type of bacterium found naturally in freshwater environments.

The discovery has led to the shutdown of two cooling towers at Disneyland, which nine of the 12 people visited during September.

ANAHEIM, CA - DECEMBER 13: Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse Statue at Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty's Holiday Castle and "Believe In Holiday Magic" Fireworks spectacular held at Disneyland Resort on December 13, 2007 in Anaheim, California.

According to the health agency, on November 3, Disney reported that routine testing had detected elevated levels of Legionella in two cooling towers a month earlier, and the towers had been disinfected. Eight were visitors who stayed in Anaheim between September 12 and September 27, one was employed there, two were residents of the city, and one lived in another county but worked in Anaheim.

Authorities said that visitors are no longer at risk of contracting the disease - a severe lung infection caused by exposure to contaminated water or mist. Outbreaks often happen in hot tubs, cooling towers and large air-conditioning systems that emit water vapor into the air.