Disneyland Cooling Tower Was Likely Source of All 22 Cases in Fatal Legionnaires’ Outbreak, Official Testifies

Guests are seen walking along Main Street in Disneyland in 2017. (Credit: Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

Guests are seen walking along Main Street in Disneyland in 2017. (Credit: Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

A cooling tower at Disneyland was the likely source for all 22 cases in a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak last year near the theme park, an Orange County health official testified Tuesday.

Most of those who fell ill visited the park in the fall of 2017. Disneyland has denied it was the source, pointing to three infected people who had been in Anaheim but not at Disneyland. One of them died.

Dr. Matthew Zahn, medical director for epidemiology at the Orange County Health Care Agency, told an appeals board judge at the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration that those three people were in nursing homes in Anaheim. He said health workers visited the nursing homes and determined there were no likely sources of the Legionella bacteria there.

Tests around the time of the outbreak showed high levels of Legionella bacteria in two of Disneyland’s cooling towers, which likely spread contaminated droplets to people in the park, Zahn said. The medical director said he concluded the three nursing home patients were probably sickened by Disneyland as well, because water infected with Legionella bacteria “can spread two to four miles.”

Read the full story on LATimes.com.