Legionnaires' disease outbreak sickens 12; 9 visited Disneyland

Legionnaires' disease outbreak sickens 12; 9 visited Disneyland

Legionnaires' disease outbreak sickens 12; 9 visited Disneyland

People who have contracted Legionnaire's disease are not contagious.

The disease was detected in three more people who had not visited the theme park, but who either lived in or had travelled to Anaheim.

County health officials say 12 people contracted the lung disease, including one Disneyland employee, with one person who had not visited the park ultimately dying.

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. According to health officials, the person who died in connection to the Disneyland outbreak had additional health issues. Legionnaires' disease is caused by bacteria growing in water that can spread when small droplets get into the air and people breathe them in, according to the CDC.

The agency said there is no known ongoing risk associated with the outbreak.

Disneyland shut down two bacteria-contaminated cooling towers after the cases of the disease were reported.

The two water cooling towers are located in a backstage area near the New Orleans Square Train Station, more than 100 feet from public areas.

OCHCA said the Legionnaires' disease exposure period in Anaheim was September 12-27. The park and a contractor tested the cooling towers and found elevated levels of Legionella bacteria.

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

According to the health agency, on November 3 Disney reported that routine testing detected elevated levels of Legionella pneumophila in two cooling towers a month earlier, and the towers had been disinfected.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notified county authorities about three weeks ago of several cases of the disease among people who had traveled to Orange County in September. Typical sources are improperly sanitized spas; indoor and outdoor fountains, showers, and cooling towers (which emit water vapor into the air) used as part of air conditioning systems in large spaces such as hospitals, hotels, entertainment venues, etc.

The illness can not be spread by person to person contact. Those at higher risk include people over the age of 50 with weak immune systems or lung problems.

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