Disneyland Shuts Down Cooling Towers After Visitors Contract Legionnaires' Disease

Legionnaires Disease Found Among Disneyland Visitors

The two cooling towers are located in a backstage area behind the New Orleans Square train station area of the theme park.

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

Twelve people between the ages of 52 to 94, who spent time in Anaheim, developed the disease, including nine people who had visited Disneyland in September before developing the illness. One person "with additional health issues" died and was not among those who visited the theme park, the Times reported.

Disneyland says it learned about the Legionnaires' cases in late October and shut down and disinfected two cooling towers that tested for high levels of the bacteria.

Legionnaires' disease is essentially an extremely unsafe form of pneumonia caused by inhaling the freshwater Legionella bacteria, which thrives in water systems like cooling towers, fountains, and hot tubs or pools that are not treated, per the Centres for Disease Control.

People who have contracted Legionnaire's disease are not contagious.

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"These towers were treated with chemicals that destroy the bacteria and are now shut down", said Hymel.

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. "They have indicated there is no longer any known risk associated with our facilities". On Nov. 1, more testing and disinfection was performed and the towers were brought back into service on Nov. 5.

Legionnaires disease is a severe form of pneumonia caused by Legionella bacteria, sometimes found in water systems. Outbreaks often happen in hot tubs, cooling towers and large air-conditioning systems that emit water vapor into the air.

The disease can be treated with antibiotics. While many people have no symptoms, it can cause serious pneumonia and prove unsafe to those with lung or immune system problems.

Health officials subsequently issued an order that the towers remain shut down until they are verified to be free from contamination.

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