People Contract Legionnaire's Disease After Visiting Disneyland

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About a dozen people in the Anaheim, CA area, or visitors to the area in September were diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease, according to Orange County health officials.

Nine people were struck down with the illness at Disneyland. The affected patients, all of whom are 52 to 94 years old, all live in or have recently visited Anaheim. There is one casualty reported in those twelve cases.

Concern over a recent Legionnaire's disease outbreak in Orange County has prompted The Happiest Place on Earth® to take action.

The chief medical officer for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Pamela Hymel, said after learning of the Legionnaires cases, park officials ordered the cooling towers to be treated with chemicals to destroy the bacteria and shut them down.

Of the 12 cases of Legionnaire's disease that emerged in September, nine were among people who visited Disneyland in September.

The county agency issued an order November 8 requiring Disney to take the towers out of service until they are shown to be free from contamination. "Since that time, HCA staff have visited Park properties and worked with Disney to identify potential sources of Legionella", said Jessica Good, spokeswoman for the Orange County Health Agency.

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

Disneyland says they have shared this information with OCHCA. "They have indicated there is no longer any known risk associated with our facilities".

According to WebMD, Legionnaires' Disease is a "severe form of pneumonia that sickens about 5,000 people in the USA each year".

Officials say Legionella, at low levels, poses no threat to humans and is commonly found in human-made water systems.

A Disneyland employee is among those who contracted the disease, according to the report. But in large concentrations, often due to stagnant or improperly sanitized water systems, the bacteria can be transmitted through inhaling contaminated water vapor.