Disneyland’s alarming disease outbreak has moms and dads on edge — here’s what we know


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The unfortunate common thread between people experiencing an outbreak of a bacterial illness called Legionnaires’ disease in Anaheim, Calif. is that nine of the 12 visited Disneyland in September. What’s more, the remaining three live in or travelled to Anaheim at some point.

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Legionnaires got its name in 1976 from an outbreak that caused 182 people attending an American Legion convention in Philadelphia to fall ill, Deadline reported.

29 people died.

“The outbreak was traced to the convention hotel’s air conditioning system, and Legionnaires’ disease has since been sourced to contaminated water or mist,” Deadline added.

The Mayo Clinic describes Legionnaires’ as “a severe form of pneumonia” caused by a bacterium known as legionella. While Legionnaires’ does not spread person to person, it does spread easily by inhalation.

The Orange County Health Care Agency says a dozen cases of the bacterial illness were discovered about three weeks ago. All the patients lived or had spent time in Anaheim and nine had visited Disneyland in September.

One patient, who hadn’t visited the park, has died.

The health agency says there haven’t been any new cases reported.

Legionnaires’ is spread by mist from contaminated water.

The Mayo Clinic also lists the following common sources of outbreak:

  • Hot tubs and whirlpools on cruise ships
  • Grocery store mist machines
  • Cooling towers in air conditioning systems
  • Decorative fountains
  • Swimming pools
  • Physical therapy equipment
  • Water systems in hotels, hospitals and nursing homes

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Disneyland says it learned about the Legionnaires’ cases on Oct. 27 and shut down and disinfected two cooling towers that had high levels of the bacteria. The towers will reopen after it’s confirmed they are no longer contaminated.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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