Eight Disneyland guests, one worker contracted Legionnaires' disease

Posted November 12, 2017

Disneyland has shut down two cooling towers that were found to have high levels of Legionella bacteria after several visitors to the theme park in Anaheim, Orange County, the United States, were sickened with Legionnaires' disease.

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.

"On October 27, 2017, when the Disneyland Park was identified as a common location of eight (8) cases, HCA contacted the Disney organization and set up site visits at the Park to assess potential sources". The person who died from the Disneyland problem had underlying health issues, according to health officials.

Nine people have contracted Legionnaire's disease after visiting Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif.

Disneyland was informed of the cases October 27, chemically treating and voluntarily shutting down two cooling towers to rid them of the Legionella bacteria, said Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chief Medical Officer Pamela Hymel.

Legionnaires' is a severe lung infection caused by exposure to contaminated water or mist.

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. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notified county officials of the outbreak among people who had traveled to Orange County. Chief medical officer for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Dr. Pamela Hymel said in a statement Friday that upon discovery of the illness-causing bacteria, the towers were cleaned and shut down.

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

The towers are in a backstage area near the New Orleans Square Train Station, each more than 100 feet from areas accessible to guests, a Disneyland Resort spokeswoman said.

It takes 2 to 10 days for symptoms of Legionnaires' disease to appear. The disease is not contagious from person to person. Infected persons often have pneumonia and may need to be hospitalized. It typically strikes the elderly and people with compromised immune systems, and can be fatal, according to the Mayo Clinic.