Published: Thu, November 16, 2017
Medicine | By Earnest Bishop

California officials probe source of Legionnaires' cases

California officials probe source of Legionnaires' cases

After several people in Orange County fell sick with Legionnaires' disease in recent weeks, officials said two cooling towers at Disneyland had been linked to the outbreak. Thursday's update raises that number to 15. Eleven of those visited Disneyland in September.

The ages of those diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease range from 52 to 94.

Neither individual who died visited Disneyland, according to the Register.

The newspaper says the other four lived in or had visited Anaheim - suggesting there could be sources of infection not yet discovered.

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In addition to the Legionnaires' outbreak, an October report from the health district said there were 56 suspected cases of influenza-like Pontiac fever, a milder illness caused by the same bacteria, at the hotel, for a total of 92 confirmed or suspected cases related to the outbreak. Neither of those victims had visited Disneyland. "On October 27, we learned from the Orange County Health Care Agency of increased Legionnaires' disease cases in Anaheim".

Water samples taken last week from the towers, which are part of air-conditioning systems, tested negative for the bacteria, officials at the theme park said Wednesday. These towers were treated with chemicals that destroy the bacteria and are now shut down. On Monday, park officials received the test results back from water samples collected from the two towers on November 2 and November 6 - before and after disinfecting. Officials say they no longer pose a risk to park visitors. All recent tests of the hotel's water systems showed low or no presence of the Legionella bacteria, and guests are not now at risk for infection, Cole confirmed.

Legionnaires' disease is a type of pneumonia that can be contracted by breathing in droplets of water in the air that are contaminated with the bacteria. The Walt Disney Company is the parent company of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and this station.

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