Published: Mon, November 13, 2017
Medical | By Rita Mcdonald

People Contract Legionnaire's Disease After Visiting Disneyland

People Contract Legionnaire's Disease After Visiting Disneyland

Disneyland shut down two cooling towers contaminated with bacteria after health officials discovered cases of Legionnaires' disease among people who had visited the theme park, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Nine had visited the theme park and the other three, including the deceased, lived in Anaheim, but had not visited Disneyland California. One of those infected was a Disney worker.

Health boffins said 10 people were rushed to hospital and that one later died, although he had "additional health issues" and did not visit the park.

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

"On Oct. 27, we learned from the Orange County Health Care Agency of increased Legionnaires' disease cases in Anaheim".

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. "These towers were treated with chemicals that destroy the bacteria and are now shut down. We have proactively shared this information with OCHCA and given our actions, they have indicated there is no longer any known risk associated with our facilities".

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Although the disease primarily targets the lungs, it is also known to infect open wounds and other vital organs of the body such as the heart.

Legionellosis refers to illness caused by Legionella bacteria and usually results from exposure to contaminated water aerosols or from aspirating contaminated water. People who are particularly susceptible to the disease are older adults, smokers, and people with weakened immune systems. It is typically contracted by breathing mist from the water that contains it.

Ten of the victims - who ranged in age from 52 to 94 - were hospitalized. The towers underwent more testing and disinfection on November 1 and were running again four days later.

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Health officials subsequently issued an order that the towers remain shut down until they are verified to be free from contamination.

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