Legionnaires' disease outbreak at Disneyland sickens nine visitors

JAN. 22 2015 FILE

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. Disney independently made a decision to take the towers out of operation the day before, Good said.

"These towers were treated with chemicals that destroy the bacteria and are now shut down", said Hymel.

The towers are near the New Orleans Square Train Station, more than 100 feet away from parts of the theme park accessible to guests, a Disneyland Resort spokeswoman said Friday, the Los Angeles Times reported. "There is no known ongoing risk associated with this outbreak". One person "with additional health issues" died and was not among those who visited the theme park, the Times reported. The towers were taken out of service November 1, disinfected, went back in operation on November 5 but were shut down again Tuesday and will remain offline until tests confirm they are free from contamination, according to the park and the county health agency.

Disney shut down the two water cooling towers after officials detected high levels of the bacteria from the virus, according to reports. "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".

Legionnaires disease is a severe form of pneumonia caused by Legionella bacteria, sometimes found in water systems.

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Test results for the towers could take up to two weeks.

Legionella pneumophila is the most common cause of infection, and the majority of L. pneumophila infections are caused by serogroup 1. Nine of those people had visited Disneyland in September before they developed the illness.

People who have contracted Legionnaire's disease are not contagious. "It can become a health concern if it grows and spreads in human-made water systems and then comes in contact with vulnerable persons who inhale small droplets of contaminated water".

There have been 55 reports of Legionella disease in Orange County residents through October of 2017; 53 were reported for the entire year of 2016; and 33 in 2015, according to Good.

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