Legionnaires’ Disease Found Among Disneyland Visitors

There is currently no known risk of people contracting the disease at Disneyland, a Disney spokesperson said

Nine people contracted Legionnaires' disease after visiting Disneyland in September, a Disneyland spokesperson confirmed Saturday.

The nine Disneyland cases are among 12 total cases that the Orange County Health Care Agency is investigating regarding people who live in or visited Anaheim in September. Disneyland was informed of the cases Oct. 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' disease is a type of pneumonia with symptoms that include cough, shortness of breath, fever, muscle aches and headaches, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People can contract the disease by breathing in small droplets of water in the air that contain the Legionella bacteria. The disease is not contagious from person to person.

Of the 12 cases being investigated, all patients range in age from 52 to 94 years old, said OCHCA Public Information Officer Jessica Good in a statement to NBC 4 News. Ten of the 12 people were hospitalized. One person, who did not visit Disneyland, had "additional health issues" and died, Good said.

Three of the patients did not visit Disneyland, but did live or travel in Anaheim, Good said.

After Disney took steps to get rid of the bacteria, the OCHCA "indicated there is no longer any known risk associated with our facilities," Hymel said.

According to the OCHCA, the Legionnaire's disease exposure period ranged from Sept. 12 to Sept. 27, Hymel said, adding that Disney thoroughly reviewed all regular water testing for the resort, "including work performed by contracted third-party experts," and "implemented additional redundant testing of other cooling towers on our property."

The OCHCA has not identified the common exposure source for all the cases, Hymel said. No additional cases have been identified in Anaheim after September and there is "no known ongoing risk associated with this outbreak," Good said.

Editor's Note: This story has been updated with comments from the Orange County Health Care Agency.

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