Medicine

Disneyland Shuts Down 2 Cooling Towers After Legionnaires' Disease Sickens Park Visitors

Disneyland Shuts Down 2 Cooling Towers After Legionnaires' Disease Sickens Park Visitors

Disneyland has shut down and decontaminated two cooling towers following an outbreak of Legionnaires disease that sickened 12 people, of which nine are guests or employees at the theme park in Anaheim, county health officials said on Saturday.

According to a report from The Orange County Register, officials are investigating 12 cases of Legionnaires' disease that were contracted by people from or visiting the Anaheim area.

The ages of the patients range from 52 to 94 and nine of them visited Disneyland in September.

Legionnaires' disease can be spread through inhaling droplets from contaminated water sources.

Symptoms develop 2 to 10 days after exposure, the OCHCA said, and include fever, chills, cough, muscle aches, and headaches.

The other three cases were Orange County residents who did not visit the park but lived or traveled in Anaheim.

According to Dr. Pamela Hymel, chief medical officer for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, the towers were shut down after Disney was contacted by the county health care agency on October 27 about increased Legionnaires' cases in Anaheim. Those towers were chemically treated and shut down to eliminate further infection. "There is no longer any known risk associated with our facilities".

"We conducted a review and learned that two cooling towers had elevated levels of Legionella bacteria", Hymel said.

The towers, in question, are located in the backstage area near the New Orleans Square Train Station, each more than 100 feet from the areas accessible to visitors.

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

People who have contracted Legionnaire's disease are not contagious. Older people and those with health issues are particularly at risk. 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 took the towers out of service again on Tuesday.

The county agency issued an order November 8 requiring Disney to take the towers out of service until they are shown to be free from contamination.


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