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Disneyland Is Source Of Legionnaire's Disease Outbreak

Disneyland Is Source Of Legionnaire's Disease Outbreak

Disneyland has shut down and decontaminated two cooling towers following an outbreak of Legionnaires disease that sickened 12 people, nine of them guests or employees at the theme park in Anaheim, county health officials said on Saturday. "Since that time, HCA staff have visited Park properties and worked with Disney to identify potential sources of Legionella", said Jessica Good, spokeswoman for the Orange County Health Agency. Of the twelve reported cases in Anaheim, patients ranged in age from 52 to 94.

The health agency told The AP that no new cases have been reported. One of the 12, who had other health issues and did not visit Disneyland, died.

About three weeks ago, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notified county authorities of several cases of the disease among people who had traveled to Orange County in September.

Of the 11 total that have been diagnosed with the bacterial infection, eight have a history of visiting Disneyland Parks prior to developing illness; three have no history of Disneyland exposure. "We conducted a review and learned that two cooling towers had elevated levels of Legionella bacteria". The company said the towers, located in a space more than 100 feet from areas accessible to guests, were disinfected and were returned to service Sunday. In a statement, Dr. Pamela Hymel, chief medical officer for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, said Disneyland learned about the Legionnaires' cases on October 27.

On Tuesday, Disney took the towers down again because the health agency ordered them to verify they were free of the Legionella contamination.

Legionnaires' is a airborne disease which causes a form of pneumonia especially risky to people 50 years or older. That person did not visit Disneyland, she said. 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. It is not contagious from person to person.

Symptoms develop 2 to 10 days after exposure, the OCHCA said, and include fever, chills, cough, muscle aches, and headaches.

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