People Contract Legionnaire's Disease After Visiting Disneyland

Disneyland Shuts Down Two Cooling Towers After Visitors Sickened With Legionnaires' Disease

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.

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 November 1, 2017, Disney had the towers taken out of service".

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chief Medical Officer Pamela Hymel said Disney conducted more tests on all of their water towers. Ten of the 11 ill were hospitalized, and one person died. The towers will reopen after it's confirmed they are no longer contaminated. They remain out of service, pending inspection by local authorities.

According to the Orange County health agency Legionella is becoming more common in the United States and in Orange County, where 55 cases have been reported through October 2017, compared with 53 for all of 2016 and 33 in 2015. Of that total, nine had visited the park in September, and the remainder lived or traveled in Anaheim. The health agency said there is no ongoing risk to the public and no other cases have been reported, although they cautioned public health officials to be aware of the situation.


The bacteria commonly is found in water systems and poses no threat to humans at low levels. Typical sources are improperly sanitized spas; indoor and outdoor fountains, showers, and cooling towers (which emit water vapor into the air) used as part of air conditioning systems in large spaces such as hospitals, hotels, entertainment venues, etc.

Legionnaires' is a airborne disease which causes a form of pneumonia especially unsafe to people 50 years or older.

Symptoms of legionellosis develop 2-10 days after exposure, and include fever, chills, cough, muscle aches, and headaches.

Treatment includes antibiotics, though hospitalization may be needed for older patients.

Persons with legionellosis are not infectious; the infection is not spread from person to person.

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