New cases of Legionnaires' disease linked to Disneyland confirmed
Three more people were diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease after they visited Anaheim, home to the Disneyland Resort in California, bringing the total number of infected to 15, according to health officials.
Two of the three new cases involved individuals who visited Disneyland in Anaheim and 11 of the total 15 cases involve people who visited the theme park in September, including one who worked there, Orange County health officials were quoted as saying by the Orange County Register on Wednesday.
Following the outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in the region, Disneyland has shut down two cooling towers that were found to have high levels of Legionella bacteria.
Disneyland officials said they have worked with the county's health care agency and treated the towers with chemicals that destroy the bacteria, Xinhua news agency reported.
Meanwhile, the agency is working with the California Department of Public Health and the Centres for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention to help medical providers and public health departments identify the infection in people who may have become ill after travelling to Anaheim, particularly Disneyland, before November 7.
The ages of those diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease range from 52 to 94.
Legionnaires' disease is a type of airborne disease that causes a severe form of pneumonia to most people who are above 50 or with a weak immune system.
According to the CDC, Legionella is a type of bacterium found naturally in freshwater environments. It can become a health concern when it grows and spreads in human-made water systems such as showers and faucets, cooling towers, decorative fountains and water features.
People can get Legionnaires' disease when they breathe in small droplets of water in the air that contain the bacteria.