As the CDC outlines, Legionnaires' disease is a type of pneumonia that is caused when the Legionella bacteria contaminates freshwater.
Disneyland in Anaheim, California, has shut down two of its cooling towers that were found to be contaminated with Legionella bacteria. Another person who contracted the disease has died; however, that person had not visited Disneyland during the affected period and already had additional health concerns. If you visited the park between September 12 and September 27, you may have been exposed to the contaminated water droplets-more than the cool-off you bargained for.
Twelve cases of the severe lung infection were identified about three weeks ago, according to Orange County health officials. The source of the mist can be air conditioning units in large facilities, showers or hot tubs.
The patients, ranging in age from 52 to 94, lived or had spent time in Anaheim, and nine had visited Disneyland in September. Outbreaks of Legionnaires' disease can perplex even the strongest infectious disease outbreak investigators and force them to look in places they may not have originally considered.
"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".
According to the Orange County health agency Legionella is becoming more common in the United States and in Orange County, where 55 cases have been reported through October 2017, compared with 53 for all of 2016 and 33 in 2015. She added that the towers were immediately treated with chemicals that destroy the bacteria and had been temporarily closed.
"There is no known ongoing risk associated with this outbreak", the agency said.
Disneyland, however, took the cooling towers out of service again on November 7, in advance of an order issued by the health agency the next day, which required they remain nonoperational until test results guarantee they are free from contamination.
If you get sick, Legionnaires' disease could lead to different serious health complications like respiratory failure, septic shock, and acute kidney failure. While many people have no symptoms, it can cause serious pneumonia and prove risky to those with lung or immune system problems.