Legionnaires' disease outbreak at Disneyland sickens nine visitors

Nov 12, 2017, 02:06
Legionnaires' disease outbreak at Disneyland sickens nine visitors

Disneyland has shut down two cooling towers at its theme park after a dozen cases, including one death, from Legionnaire's disease - a serious respiratory illness caused by the Legionella bacteria - were reported in Anaheim. Ten of the people were hospitalized and one person "with additional health issues" died, despite not visiting the park, OCHCA Public Information Officer Jessica Good said in a report by KNBC-TV.

According to the Orange County health agency Legionella is becoming more common in the United States and in Orange County, where 55 cases have been reported through October 2017, compared with 53 for all of 2016 and 33 in 2015.

The towers are shut down as they are treated with chemicals that kill this type of bacteria.

The two cooling towers are located in a backstage area behind the New Orleans Square train station area of the theme park.

County authorities were informed by the the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention three weeks ago of several cases of the disease among people who had traveled to Orange County in September.

Twelve cases of Legionnaires' disease are being investigated by OC health experts, among those are 9 patients who visited the park in September, according to the OC Register.

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. The towers will reopen once they are no longer contaminated, park officials said.

When Legionella bacterial levels are high, it can be transmitted through inhalation of contaminated water vapor.

Although the Health Care Agency sent alerts to medical providers and other public health departments to help identify other people who have contracted Legionnaire's disease, the agency issued no public press releases or statements because "there was no known, ongoing risk associated with this event", Good said.

The illness can not be spread by person to person contact. It typically strikes the elderly and people with compromised immune systems, and can be fatal, according to the Mayo Clinic. It is treated with antibiotics and hospital care, but one in 10 of those who contract the disease dies from infection.

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