Published: Sun, November 12, 2017
Entertaiment | By Simon Arnold

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

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

Nine cases of Legionnaires' disease have been diagnosed among Disneyland visitors in recent months and the Disneyland Resort has closed two backstage cooling towers located behind New Orleans Square.

The other three are Orange County residents who didn't visit Disneyland but live or travelled to Anaheim, reported Orange County Health Care Agency spokeswoman Jessica Good, Friday night in response to earlier Voice of OC questions. One person, who had not visited Disneyland, died from the disease.

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

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.

The Legionella bacteria can cause respiratory illness and pneumonia, and especially in older people or those with existing health problems, can result in death.

Officials say Legionella, at low levels, poses no threat to humans and is commonly found in human-made water systems.

Nine people contracted Legionnaires' disease after they visited Disneyland in Anaheim in September, officials said. The towers will reopen once they are no longer contaminated, park officials said.

According to a LA Times report, Disney reported on November 3 that routine testing had detected elevated levels of Legionella in two cooling towers a month earlier, and the towers had been disinfected.

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

"These towers were treated with chemicals that destroy the bacteria and are now shut down", said Hymel. Ten were hospitalized and one person "with additional health issues" died, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.

The Walt Disney Company is the parent company of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and this station.

It takes 2 to 10 days for symptoms of Legionnaires' disease to appear. It typically strikes the elderly and people with compromised immune systems, and can be fatal, according to the Mayo Clinic.

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