Disneyland Shuts Down Cooling Towers After 9 Guests Contract Legionnaire's Disease

Disneyland Shuts Down Cooling Towers After 9 Guests Contract Legionnaire's Disease

The Anaheim-based theme park has closed two of its cooling towers in response to the outbreak. Outbreaks often happen in hot tubs, cooling towers and large air-conditioning systems that emit water vapor into the air. The towers contained a high level of Legionella bacteria, which can cause Legionnaires' disease, and 12 people in the Anaheim area were reported sick.

At least 9 people who visited the Anaheim theme park in September developed symptoms of Legionnaires', according to Orange County health officials.

Good said an investigation of Legionnaires cluster discovered that the 12 people sickened by the serious lung disease had traveled to, lived in, or worked in Anaheim during the month of September.

One of the three cases of the respiratory illness not linked to Disneyland was fatal in an individual who had additional health issues, said Jessica Good of the Orange County Health Care Agency. The people infected by the disease were between the ages of 52 and 94.

The towers at Disneyland Park have been treated with chemicals to destroy any remaining bacteria. The towers underwent more testing and disinfection on November 1 and were running again four days later.

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As the CDC outlines, Legionnaires' disease is a type of pneumonia that is caused when the Legionella bacteria contaminates freshwater.

Disneyland, however, took the cooling towers out of service again on November 7, in advance of an order issued by the health agency the next day, which required they remain nonoperational until test results guarantee they are free from contamination.

Meanwhile, the county health agency also asked to watch for symptoms of the disease in anyone who may have become unwell after visiting Disneyland or Anaheim before November 7.

Cooling towers are evaporative systems that provide cooled water for various uses such as refrigeration but not for drinking water.

The illness can not be spread by person to person contact. While many people have no symptoms, it can cause serious pneumonia and prove unsafe to those with lung or immune system problems. Out of the 12 people with Legionnaires' disease, 10 were hospitalized and Good said that one of the people who had not been to Disneyland died.

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