Elliot OlsenFree consultation

Elliot Olsen has more than 20 years’ experience representing people harmed by Legionnaires’ disease, and he has regained millions of dollars in compensation for those clients. If you or a family member has become sick in the Disneyland Legionnaires’ outbreak, please call him at 612-337-6126, or complete the following:

Legionella bacteria is endemic in cooling towers throughout the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) discovered in a study released in May 2017.

The CDC tested water from 196 cooling towers in eight of nine continental U.S. climate regions, and 84 percent returned positive results for Legionella DNA. That means that the bacteria was either present or had been present in the cooling tower at some point.

Overall, investigators found live Legionella bacteria in 79 cooling towers – half of which had more than one type of Legionella – in most regions of the country.

Legionnaires’ can be deadly

Legionella bacteria is the cause of the respiratory illness Legionnaires’ disease, a severe – and often lethal – form of pneumonia. It is particularly risky for:

  • people 50 or older
  • current or former smokers
  • people with suppressed immune systems
  • people with lung disease.
A Disneyland Legionnaires' disease outbreak has sickened nine visitors, and theme park officials have shut down two cooling towers behind New Orleans Square (pictured).

A Disneyland Legionnaires’ disease outbreak has sickened 11 visitors, and theme park officials have shut down two cooling towers behind New Orleans Square (pictured).

From Disneyland to NYC

The CDC study is the first to illustrate how prevalent Legionella may be in cooling towers, which are known to be a prime culprit in Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks. In two well-publicized 2017 outbreaks attributed to contaminated cooling towers:

  • At Disneyland in Anaheim, CA, 11 people who visited the theme park in September contracted Legionnaires’ disease from two contaminated cooling towers. In addition, four other people who did not visit the park but traveled or worked in Anaheim were sickened by Legionnaires’ disease, and two of them died. The two cooling towers were ordered shut down by the Orange County Health Care Agency on Nov. 8, and subsequent testing showed they are now clear of Legionella.
  • On the Upper East Side of Manhattan, seven people were sickened and one person died in a Legionnaires’ outbreak in June in the Lenox Hill neighborhood. Testing of cooling towers in the neighborhood showed 42 cooling towers were contaminated.

Legionnaires’ on the rise

The CDC had previously announced a 286% increase in the number of reported Legionnaires’ cases in the U.S. between 2000 and 2014.