An outbreak of Legionnaire's disease in Orange County has been traced to two cooling towers at Disneyland.
An additional three people who had been to Anaheim but not Disneyland got sick, said Jessica Good, a spokeswoman for the Orange County Health Care Agency (OCHCA). One of those infected was a Disney worker.
One individual, who did not visit the park, died from the disease although they were already suffering from other health issues.
"We conducted a review and learned that two cooling towers had elevated levels of Legionella bacteria".
County health officials identified Disneyland Park as a common location of eight of the cases last month, and have been working to identify potential sources, Good said.
California's Orange County Health Agency (OCHA) said 12 cases of the disease were found three weeks ago, nine of which were reported back in September. Those towers were chemically treated and shut down to eliminate further infection. The Walt Disney Company is the parent company of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and this station. The towers will reopen once they are no longer contaminated, park officials said. Disney independently chose to take the towers out of operation the day before, Good said.
"Legionnaires' disease is not contagious, can not be transmitted person to person, and comes from a bacteria that is naturally in the environment, usually in water", says Dr. Hymel. People who are particularly susceptible to the disease are older adults, smokers, and people with weakened immune systems.
Twelve people between the ages of 52 to 94, who spent time in Anaheim, developed the disease, including nine people who had visited Disneyland in September before developing the illness. It is typically contracted by breathing mist from the water that contains it. The disease can also cause cardiac, renal and gastrointestinal involvement.
Disney took the towers out of service again on Tuesday. The towers were taken out of service November 1, disinfected, went back in operation on November 5 but were shut down again Tuesday and will remain offline until tests confirm they are free from contamination, according to the park and the county health agency.
Health officials subsequently issued an order that the towers remain shut down until they are verified to be free from contamination.