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Disneyland shuts down 2 cooling towers after Legionnaires' disease cases

11 November 2017

Disneyland has shut down two cooling towers in the park after several visitors got Legionnaire's disease. Infected persons often have pneumonia and may need to be hospitalized.

The nine Disneyland cases are among 12 total cases that the Orange County Health Care Agency is investigating regarding people who live in or visited Anaheim in September.

People who have contracted Legionnaire's disease are not contagious. "These towers were treated with chemicals that destroy the bacteria and are now shut down".

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The towers traced to the outbreak were located near the New Orleans Square Train Station, both towers more than 100 feet from public areas. Chief medical officer for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Dr. Pamela Hymel said in a statement Friday that upon discovery of the illness-causing bacteria, the towers were cleaned and shut down. That person did not visit Disneyland.

In a statement, Dr. Pamela Hymel, chief medical officer for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, said Disneyland learned about the Legionnaires' cases on October 27.

Orange County has had more than 55 reported cases of Legionnaires' disease this year and the number of cases has increased in recent years both in the county and nationally, according to the health care agency. The towers will reopen after it's confirmed they are no longer contaminated.

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"On October 27, 2017, when the Disneyland Park was identified as a common location of eight (8) cases, HCA contacted the Disney organization and set up site visits at the Park to assess potential sources".

Case ages range from 52-94.

On November 3, Disney reported that routine testing had detected elevated levels of Legionella in two cooling towers a month earlier, and they were disinfected, according to the health agency. Good's email statement didn't indicate if any of those who contracted the disease were related to each other.

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Cooling towers are evaporative systems that provide cooled water for various uses such as refrigeration but not for drinking water. Those at higher risk include people over the age of 50 with weak immune systems or lung problems.

Disneyland shuts down 2 cooling towers after Legionnaires' disease cases