Disneyland Shuts Down Two Cooling Towers After Visitors Sickened With Legionnaires' Disease

Disneyland Shuts Down Two Cooling Towers After Visitors Sickened With Legionnaires' Disease

Disneyland has shut down and decontaminated two cooling towers following an outbreak of Legionnaires disease that sickened 12 people, nine of them guests or employees at the theme park in California.

Ten of the 12 people who became ill were hospitalized. The disease was named after 29 men died after attending an American Legion convention in Philadelphia in 1976, where the previously unidentified bacterium was breeding one of the hotel's cooling towers. There is one casualty reported in those twelve cases.

This follows a report in late October when eight cases were being investigated.

Of the 12 cases of Legionnaire's disease that emerged in September, nine were among people who visited Disneyland in September. Disney independently chose to take the towers out of operation the day before, Good said. "We conducted a review and learned that two cooling towers had elevated levels of Legionella bacteria".

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

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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. "Since that time, HCA staff have visited Park properties and worked with Disney to identify potential sources of Legionella", said Jessica Good, spokeswoman for the Orange County Health Agency.

Disneyland says they have shared this information with OCHCA.

The disease is caused by the bacterium Legionella pneumophila, found in both potable and nonpotable water systems.

Authorities said that visitors are no longer at risk of contracting the disease - a severe lung infection caused by exposure to contaminated water or mist. But in large concentrations, often due to stagnant or improperly sanitized water systems, the bacteria can be transmitted through inhaling contaminated water vapor.

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