Disneyland tower suggested as Legionnaires' disease source

A health official has testified that a cooling tower that provides mist to make Disneyland visitors comfortable was the likely source for 22 cases in a Legionnaires' disease outbreak last year near the theme park.

Most of those who got sick visited the park in the fall of 2017. Disneyland has denied it was the source, pointing to three infected people who had been in the city of Anaheim where Disneyland is located, but not at the park itself. One of them died.

Orange County Health Care Agency Dr. Matthew Zahn had given testimony before an appeals board judge at the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which is investigating the case.

The Los Angeles Times reported Zahn said tests around the time of the outbreak showed high levels of Legionella bacteria in two Disneyland cooling towers, which are part of an air conditioning system that releases mist.  He said contaminated droplets likely spread to people in the park and beyond.

Disneyland is appealing state fines, saying the outbreak's source wasn’t scientifically determined.

Upon questioning, Zahn said he couldn’t be 100 percent certain that Disneyland was the source without additional testing.

Dawn Kamber