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Legionnaires Outbreak in California has a Shuts down two Cooling Towers for Cleaning at the Disneyland Resort

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November 13th 2017

Twelve cases of Legionnaires disease were discovered three weeks ago in Anaheim, CA this puts the exposure around the week of September 12th, 2017. The Orange County Health Care Agency states that the cases involved people ranging in age from 52 to 94.  Nine of the twelve people had visited Disneyland in Anaheim in September before coming down with the bacteria-caused illness. The remaining three lived or traveled to Anaheim around that same time frame but did not visit the resort. Ten had to be hospitalized with one succumbing to the illness. This person had additional health issues that played a role intheir death according to health officials.

Press Release from: Dr. Pamela Hymel, Chief Medical Officer for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts stated the following:

On Oct. 27, 2017, the Orange County Health Care Agency (OCHCA) notified local medical professionals of increased cases of Legionnaires’ disease in the Anaheim area. According to the OCHCA, the exposure period was Sept. 12-27.

Legionnaires’ disease is not contagious, cannot be transmitted person to person, and comes from a bacteria that is naturally in the environment, usually in water. It can become a health concern if it grows and spreads in human-made water systems and then comes in contact with vulnerable persons who inhale small droplets of contaminated water. Most people who are exposed to the bacteria do not become ill. Those at risk include people who are immunocompromised, those with chronic lung disease and the elderly. Legionnaires’ disease can have symptoms similar to pneumonia. Symptoms can include a high fever, chills, and a cough.

Upon being notified by OCHCA about the increased cases of Legionnaires’ disease in Anaheim, we worked closely with health care officials to see if there were potential areas of concern. We reviewed our water quality testing data, including testing performed by our third-party water quality maintenance contractor, and learned that two cooling towers had elevated levels of Legionella bacteria. These towers were treated with chemicals that destroy the bacteria and are currently shut down to further eliminate any ongoing concern. We have proactively shared this information with OCHCA and, given our actions, they have indicated there is no longer any known risk associated with our facilities.

We have always had cooperative relationships with health agencies on which we rely for information and guidance to help ensure that our safety procedures and protocols are current and effective, and we will continue to work closely with them.

While there is no ongoing concern at Disneyland Resort, we are committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for all who visit or work at our parks and resorts. If you have further questions about Legionnaires’ disease, I encourage you to visit https://www.cdc.gov/legionella/index.html.

If you have any additional questions about the Disneyland Resort, please contact us at 714-781-4669


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