Nov. 17 (UPI) — Health officials in California on Thursday said the number of cases of Legionnaires’ disease in people who visited Disneyland or the city of Anaheim has grown to 15.
Orange County officials said that of the 15 sickened with the disease, 11 apparently contracted the disease after a visit to the theme park. Two people, both of whom had prior health problems and had not visited Disneyland, died.
Those sickened ranged in age from 52 to 94.
Health officials are attempting to find out the source of the disease, a type of pneumonia caused by bacteria growing in water that can spread when small droplets get into the air and people breathe them in. It is not contagious from person to person.
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 Nov. 6, Disney took the towers down again because the health agency ordered them to verify they were free of the Legionella contamination.
Investigators also are evaluating cooling towers near the amusement park, including along the Harbor Boulevard corridor in Anaheim.
“Though it will not be possible to definitely link the cases to the cooling towers, the level of contamination and their location suggests that they are a potential source for some or all cases,” Jessica Good, a spokeswoman for the Health Care Agency, told the Orange County Register.