Animal Kingdom's Wild Africa Trek Linked to Illness Outbreak

A popular guest experience in Disney's Animal Kingdom park is being linked to "several dozen" cases of guest illness. Several guests have reported an abdominal-based sickness after taking part in the Wild Africa Trek tour during June and July.

Dan Weister, a spokesperson for the Orange County Health Department, said the illness "appears to be some kind of stomach bug." The source of the illness hasn't been found, and Weister says: "It could be food-borne, it could be water-borne, it could be something that's passed on person-to-person, it could be something that's picked up by surface."

The Health Department first learned of the illness on June 11. This prompted theme to inspect the Disney kitchen where food for the Trek is prepared; no problems were found. In addition, the department has interviewed and made contact with "hundreds" of guests in their investigation of the illness.

Most cases, which involved stomach-bug type symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, appeared to have occurred the first week of June. Some cases were reported in July as well. No one appears to have been hospitalized overnight as a result of the illness, with most guests not seeking medical treatment and reporting feeling better in 2-5 days.

In response to the illness, Disney appears to have upped its precautions by "deep cleaning" areas where guests frequently touch and handing out more hand sanitizers.

No source or pathogen of the outbreak has been found despite Health Department testing, though Weister has said the sickness appears to be confined to the Wild Africa Trek and not rampant throughout the park.

The Wild Africa Trek is a three-hour tour in which guests explore the Animal Kingdom more in depth and dine on the park's savannah. The price ranges from $139 to $249 per person with several tours occuring throughout the day.


Disney Dreams wrote on Fri, 07/27/2012 - 19:16:

On another Disney fan message board there is a large discussion about this, including many people who were sick themselves, have been contacted by various parties involved in the investigation, and lots of details. From others' reports, it sounds as if Disney and the Health Department are trying hard to determine exactly what those who got ill did that others did not (or vice-versa).

Melinda Gregory wrote on Sun, 07/29/2012 - 22:58:

Melinda Gregory's picture

I'm sorry to hear about your granddaughter, Tina...hoping she gets better soon! It's never easy when the little ones get so sick like that...

On our last trip to Disney, both of my girls (who were 4 at the time) came down with a stomach bug. Luckily, it ran its course in about 24 hrs, but while it lasted, it was nasty! No one else in our group (we had 4 adults & 4 kiddos) became sick, just my two.

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