April 22, 2018

Disneyland Shuts Down Cooling Towers After Several Visitors Contract Legionnaires

11 November 2017, 11:24 | Lena Norman

Disneyland Shuts Down Two Cooling Towers After Visitors Sickened With Legionnaires' Disease

JAN. 22 2015 FILE

Disneyland in Anaheim, California, was forced to shut down two cooling towers after cases of Legionnaires' disease was found in park visitors, KRON4 reported.

The towers were found to be contaminated with Legionella bacteria, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency, as reported by the Los Angeles Times.

The 12 cases range in age from 52 to 94, Good said.

The Orange County Health Care Agency said there was an increase in Legionnaires' cases in Anaheim, prompting officials at the park to investigate. According to health officials, the person who died in connection to the Disneyland outbreak had additional health issues. That person did not visit Disneyland, she said. They report having performed subsequent testing and disinfection and brought the towers back into service November 5, 2017. Ten of the victims were hospitalized and one person - who had not visited Disneyland - had died. Two cooling towers that were in an area inaccessible to guests have since been disinfected and shut down until health officials can certify them as disinfected.

Disney took the towers out of service again Tuesday in advance of an order the health agency issued the following day requiring they remain down until test results verify they are free from Legionella contamination.

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Legionnaires' can cause severe pneumonia.

After Disney took steps to get rid of the bacteria, the OCHCA "indicated there is no longer any known risk associated with our facilities", Hymel said.

The county health agency alerted health care providers to keep an eye on anyone who visited Anaheim or Disneyland and contracted Legionnaires' disease before November 7.

The two cooling towers are located in a backstage area behind the New Orleans Square train station area of the theme park. Typical sources are improperly sanitized spas; indoor and outdoor fountains, showers, and cooling towers (which emit water vapor into the air) used as part of air conditioning systems in large spaces such as hospitals, hotels, entertainment venues, etc. Those at higher risk include people over the age of 50 with weak immune systems or lung problems.

The disease can be treated with antibiotics.

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