Nov. 11 (UPI) — Eight guests and one worker at Disneyland have contracted Legionnaires’ disease, prompting the Anaheim, Calif., theme park to close a pair of cooling towers.
Besides the nine cases, three other people who lived in or traveled to Anaheim developed the disease, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency, as reported by the Los Angeles Times.
The 12 victims ranged from 52 to 94 years old. Ten of the people were hospitalized and one person “with additional health issues” died, despite not visiting the park, OCHCA Public Information Officer Jessica Good said in a report by KNBC-TV.
In Orange County, 55 cases of the disease have been reported this year.
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. By the end of October, Disneyland learned of the cases.
On Nov. 3, Disney informed the health agency that routine testing had detected elevated levels of Legionella bacteria in two cooling towers a month earlier. 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.
On Tuesday, Disney took the towers down again because the health agency ordered them to verify they were free of the Legionella contamination.
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chief Medical Officer Pamela Hymel said Disney conducted more tests on all of their water towers.
“There is no known ongoing risk associated with this outbreak,” the health care agency said in a statement.
OCHCA said the Legionnaires’ disease exposure period in Anaheim was Sept. 12-27.
The type of pneumonia was named Legionnaires’ disease after an outbreak of pneumonia caused 34 deaths at a 1976 American Legion Convention in Philadelphia in 1976. Legionnaires’ disease is caused by bacteria growing in water that can spread when small droplets get into the air and people breathe them in, according to the CDC. It is not contagious from person to person.
People generally contract the disease two days after exposure and usually can be treated with antibiotics, though the CDC said one in 10 people die from the infection.
Symptoms include cough, shortness of breath, fever, muscle aches and headaches.