Disneyland shuts down 2 cooling towers after Legionnaires' disease sickens park visitors

Legionnaires Disease Found Among Disneyland Visitors
Associated Press
Author

13 November, 2017

DISNEYLAND have shut down two cooling towers after nine visitors contracted Legionnaires' disease.

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. Nine of those people had visited Disneyland in September before they developed the illness. Disneyland was informed of the cases October 27, chemically treating and voluntarily shutting down two cooling towers to rid them of the Legionella bacteria, said Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chief Medical Officer Pamela Hymel.

"These towers were treated with chemicals that destroy the bacteria and are now shut down", said Hymel. "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". The health agency said there is no ongoing risk to the public and no other cases have been reported, although they cautioned public health officials to be aware of the situation.

Legionnaires' disease is a type of pneumonia caused by legionella bacteria. The source of the contaminated water can be hot tubs and whirlpools on cruise ships, grocery store mist machines, cooling towers in air conditioning systems, decorative fountains, swimming pools, physical therapy equipment, water systems in hotels, hospitals and nursing homes.

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The disease is not contagious.

"On Oct. 27, we learned from the Orange County Health Care Agency of increased Legionnaires' disease cases in Anaheim".

Disneyland Park informed health officials this month that elevated levels of Legionella had been identified in two of its 18 towers, which were then treated and disinfected. The towers underwent more testing and disinfection on November 1 and were running again four days later. The towers were taken out of service November 1, disinfected, went back in operation on November 5 but were shut down again Tuesday and will remain offline until tests confirm they are free from contamination, according to the park and the county health agency. The results of the tests will not be known for about two weeks.


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