The Los Angeles Times reported that 12 cases of the bacteria-caused illness were discovered about three weeks ago among people who had visited the park in Anaheim, Calif. The patients, ranging in age from 52 to 94, lived or had spent time in Anaheim, and nine had visited Disneyland in September.
Legionellosis refers to illness caused by Legionella bacteria and usually results from exposure to contaminated water aerosols or from aspirating contaminated water. The Mayo Clinic says it takes two to 10 days for those exposed to show symptoms, which include headaches, chills, fever, and eventually serious respiratory complications.
Twelve cases of the disease have been reported in the Anaheim area; among those, eight people had visited Disneyland in September and one worked there, the Register reports.
Pamela Hymel - the chief medical officer for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts - said in a written statement that after learning of the Legionnaires cases, park officials ordered the cooling towers treated with chemicals to destroy the bacteria and shut them down. An employee working in the facility also got infected with the same disease. In this photo, English-Irish boy band The Wanted performs "Santa Claus is Coming To Town" while taping the Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade TV special at the Magic Kingdom park at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, Dec. 6, 2013. But in large concentrations, often due to stagnant or improperly sanitized water systems, the bacteria can be transmitted through inhaling contaminated water vapor.
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Disneyland was informed of the Anaheim cases on October 27 and after testing found that two cooling towers had elevated levels of Legionella bacteria. People who are particularly susceptible to the disease are older adults, smokers, and people with weakened immune systems.
Ten were hospitalized and one person "with additional health issues" died, according to health officials.
The disease can be treated with antibiotics.
Health officials subsequently issued an order that the towers remain shut down until they are verified to be free from contamination.