Local 6 obtains letter sent to Disney guests who became ill on 'Wild Africa Trek'

Health department sends letter for Animal Kingdom investigation


ORLANDO, Fla. – Local 6 obtained the letter on Friday that the Orange County Health Department sent to guests who became ill after touring Disney Animal Kingdom's "Wild Africa Trek" in June.

In the letter, dated July 18, 2012, the health department asks guests to complete a brief questionnaire over the phone. The epidemiology program manager writes the department is "conducting an investigation of reports of gastrointestinal illness" and it is being conducted to "determine possible sources of the illness."

Since the illness was first reported in early June, more cases of the "stomach bug" continued to appear. Since then, Disney said it voluntarily did a "deep clean" of the affected area and stepped up measures to promote hand-washing and the use of hand-sanitizers.

Symptoms were nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and in some cases vomiting, health department public information officer Dain Weister said. Symptoms usually lasted two to five days. Two people felt sick enough to go to the emergency room, although none were hospitalized overnight.

The trek features VIP access to crocodiles, hippos and exotic animals in Disney's Animal Kingdom through a guided tour and a tasting of African-inspired foods on a savannah. Weister confirmed none of the guests on the tour touch animals, and so officials have ruled out animal-to-human transmissions. While some guests thought it was a food-borne illness, that's also still unclear.