Eight Disneyland guests, one worker contracted Legionnaires' disease


Disneyland has shut down two cooling towers after people who visited the Anaheim theme park came down with Legionnaires' disease.

"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. The Anaheim outbreak includes patients between ages 52 to 94.

Of the 11 total that have been diagnosed with the bacterial infection, eight have a history of visiting Disneyland Parks prior to developing illness; three have no history of Disneyland exposure. The disease was named after 29 men died after attending an American Legion convention in Philadelphia in 1976, where the previously unidentified bacterium was breeding one of the hotel's cooling towers.

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

The health agency told The AP that no new cases have been reported.

"On November 3, 2017, Disney reported to HCA that records provided by a contractor indicated that (as part of their quarterly, routine testing) elevated levels of Legionella had been identified in (two of 18) cooling towers on October 2, 2017 and treated/disinfected by the contractor on October 4, 2017". The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notified county officials of the outbreak among people who had traveled to Orange County.

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. The company said the towers, located in a space more than 100 feet from areas accessible to guests, were disinfected and were returned to service Sunday.

Disneyland discovered the contamination last month and has taken the towers out of service for disinfection. That person had not visited Disneyland.

The Legionella bacteria can cause respiratory illness and pneumonia, and especially in older people or those with existing health problems, can result in death.