Disneyland shuts down cooling towers over Legionnaires' cases

Legionnaires Disease Found Among Disneyland Visitors

Disneyland has shut down two cooling towers after nine people contracted Legionnaires' disease at the theme park.

According to the paper, the cooling towers in question appear to be associated with the cases of 12 people who spent time in Anaheim and then were discovered to have developed the disease roughly three weeks ago.

Case ages range from 52-94.

Legionnaires' disease is a bacterial lung infection caused by exposure to contaminated water or mist. People who develop symptoms may experience fever, cough, chills, shortness of breath, headaches, muscle aches and diarrhea.

The chief medical officer for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Pamela Hymel, said in a written statement that after learning of the Legionnaires cases, park officials ordered the cooling towers treated with chemicals to destroy the bacteria and shut them down. Those towers were chemically treated and shut down to eliminate further infection. "We have proactively shared this information with OCHCA and given our actions, they have indicated there is no longer any known risk associated with our facilities". A Disneyland employee is among those who got sick.

After conducting routine testing a month earlier, Disneyland authorities detected elevated levels of Legionella in the two cooling towers and performed a thorough disinfection of the towers at the time.

There has been one death - the person had not visited the theme park.

The water towers are situated in a backstage area near the New Orleans Square Train Station, and are more than 100 feet from areas accessible to guests, according to a Disneyland Resort spokeswoman. Eight of the twelve cases relate to persons visiting Disneyland, as well as someone who worked at the tourist destination. The other nine are suffering from "additional health issues" at present. Disney took the towers out of service on November 1, performed more testing and disinfection, and brought them back into service on November 5. Disney independently chose to take the towers out of operation the day before, Good said.

Disney took the towers out of service again on Tuesday because the health agency required they remain down until test results verify they are free of Legionella contamination.

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