Disneyland Shuts Down Cooling Towers After Visitors Contract Legionnaires' Disease

Legionnaires' disease outbreak at Disneyland sickens nine visitors

DISNEYLAND have shut down two cooling towers after nine visitors contracted Legionnaires' disease.

A dozen cases of the bacterial lung infection were discovered about three weeks ago, the Orange County Health Care Agency announced Friday.

There has been one death - the person had not visited the theme park. Of the twelve reported cases in Anaheim, patients ranged in age from 52 to 94.

According to Dr. Pamela Hymel, chief medical officer for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, the towers were shut down after Disney was contacted by the county health care agency on October 27 about increased Legionnaires' cases in Anaheim.

According to a LA Times report, Disney reported on November 3 that routine testing had detected elevated levels of Legionella in two cooling towers a month earlier, and the towers had been disinfected. The towers were chemically treated to combat the problem, and there is no ongoing threat to guests' health, the Register reports.

Concern over a recent Legionnaire's disease outbreak in Orange County has prompted The Happiest Place on Earth® to take action.

Nine had visited the theme park and the other three, including the deceased, lived in Anaheim, but had not visited Disneyland California.

Legionellosis refers to illness caused by Legionella bacteria and usually results from exposure to contaminated water aerosols or from aspirating contaminated water.

The towers traced to the outbreak were located near the New Orleans Square Train Station, both towers more than 100 feet from public areas.

Legionnaires' disease is a severe, often lethal, form of pneumonia.

Most cases of the infection start when people inhale microscopic water droplets containing legionella bacteria. The towers were taken out of service November 1, disinfected, went back in operation on November 5 but were shut down again Tuesday and will remain offline until tests confirm they are free from contamination, according to the park and the county health agency. On Nov. 1, more testing and disinfection was performed and the towers were brought back into service on Nov. 5.

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