Two bacteria-contaminated water coolers have been shut down by Disneyland after Orange County health officials discovered several cases of Legionnaires’ disease in people who had visited the Anaheim theme park, authorities said.
Orange County health officials are investigating 12 cases of Legionnaires’ disease. One person, who had not visited Disneyland, has died, officials said Friday.
In an email sent on Friday, Jessica Good, a spokeswoman for the Orange County Health Care Agency, said the agency found 12 people, ages 52 to 94, were diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease, a type of airborne disease that causes a severe form of pneumonia to most people 50 years or older or with a weak immune system.
Ten people were hospitalized and one person “with additional health issues” died, according to health officials. The person who has passed did not visit Disneyland.
The health care agency is investigating all the cases, but has not yet identified a common exposure source for all of them, she said.
Legionnaires’ disease usually results from inhaling microscopic water droplets in mist or vapor. It is not spread person-to-person.
Dr. Pamela Hymel, chief medical officer for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, issued a statement and stated that Disney was informed Oct. 27 by the county agency of Disneyland’s possible role in the Legionnaires’ disease cases in Anaheim.
“We conducted a review and learned that two cooling towers had elevated levels of Legionella bacteria,” Hymel said in the statement. “These towers were treated with chemicals that destroy the bacteria and are currently shut down.”
Hymel added that Disney has worked with the county health care agency and that “there is no longer any known risk associated with our facilities.”
It is the towers behind the New Orleans Square train station that, while initially cleared, have again been removed from service by Disney.
No additional cases have been reported since September and no known ongoing risk associated with this outbreak.
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