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

Ebony Scott
November 12, 2017

Eight guests and one worker at Disneyland have contracted Legionnaires' disease, prompting the Anaheim, Calif., theme park to close a pair of cooling towers.

Nine of the afflicted had visited the park, with the others living or traveling in Anaheim. "Disney took the towers out of service on November 1, performed more testing and disinfection, and brought them back into service on November 5".

When Legionella bacterial levels are high, it can be transmitted through inhalation of contaminated water vapor.

The disease is treatable, but roughly one in 10 people who contract the disease die from it, with people over 50 with weakened immune systems or chronic lung disease most at risk. Eight were visitors who stayed in Anaheim between September 12 and September 27, one was employed there, two were residents of the city, and one lived in another county but worked in Anaheim.

"On November 3, 2017, Disney reported to HCA that records provided by a contractor indicated that (as part of their quarterly, routine testing) elevated levels of Legionella had been identified in (two of 18) cooling towers on October 2, 2017 and treated/disinfected by the contractor on October 4, 2017".

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Disneyland officials said they have worked with the county health care agency and treated the towers with chemicals that destroy the bacteria.

In Orange County, 55 cases of the disease have been reported this year. All the patients lived or had spent time in Anaheim and nine had visited Disneyland in September. Ten were hospitalized and one person "with additional health issues" died, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.

"There is no known ongoing risk associated with this outbreak", the agency said in a statement.

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

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Legionella is a type of bacterium found naturally in freshwater environments. The county contacted Disney after it discovered several had gone to the park.

Other reports by GizPress

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