3 more cases of Legionnaires' disease confirmed in Orange County

Georgia Reed
November 17, 2017

Disneyland said it learned about the Legionnaires' cases on October 27 and shut down and disinfected two cooling towers, which are part of air-conditioning systems. The patients range in age from 52 to 94.

Cases of Legionnaires' disease have been increasing nationwide and in California in recent years, and officials often struggle to identify where the infections originate, the Times said.

The county's Health Care Agency is working with the California Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help medical providers and public health departments identify the infection in people who may have become ill after traveling to Anaheim, particularly Disneyland, before November 7, officials said.

Eleven of those patients had visited in Disneyland in September, and the other four lived or visited in Anaheim, the city where the park is located.

Thirteen of the infected were hospitalized. None of the individuals are related to one another.

"We conducted a review and learned that two cooling towers had elevated levels of Legionella bacteria", Hymel said.

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Three new cases of Legionnaires' disease have been reported in Southern California, bringing the total number of infected people to 15, two of whom have died.

This image from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a large grouping of Legionella pneumophila bacteria. These towers were treated with chemicals that destroy the bacteria and are now shut down.

So far, two patients have died, though neither of them were visitors of the park. Since that time, HCA staff have visited Park properties and worked with Disney to identify potential sources of Legionella. The towers are not in public areas.

According to the CDC, Legionella is a type of bacterium found naturally in freshwater environments.

Legionnaires' disease spreads when water droplets in the air containing the Legionella bacteria are inhaled, usually around showers, hot tubs, sinks and water fountains. The Walt Disney Company is the parent company of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and this station.

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