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

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

Orange County health officials are investigating 12 cases of Legionnaire's disease among people who traveled to, resided in, or worked in Anaheim during the month of September.

Crowds fill rafts to Tom Sawyer Island with New Orleans Square in the background sometime in 2015. The victims' ages range from 52 to 94. Ten were hospitalized and one person "with additional health issues" died, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.

Three of the patients did not visit Disneyland, but did live or travel in Anaheim, Good said.

The park shared its information with the Orange County health experts, Hymel said, and "they have indicated there is no longer any known risk associated with our facilities". Good's email statement didn't indicate if any of those who contracted the disease were related to each other. "We conducted a review and learned that two cooling towers had elevated levels of Legionella bacteria", the statement said.

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

The discovery has led to the shutdown of two cooling towers at Disneyland, which nine of the 12 people visited during September.

According to the OCHCA, the Legionnaire's disease exposure period ranged from September 12 to September 27, Hymel said, adding that Disney thoroughly reviewed all regular water testing for the resort, "including work performed by contracted third-party experts", and "implemented additional redundant testing of other cooling towers on our property".

On Tuesday, Disney took the towers down again because the health agency ordered them to verify they were free of the Legionella contamination. Legionnaires' disease is caused by bacteria growing in water that can spread when small droplets get into the air and people breathe them in, according to the CDC.

Cooling towers are evaporative systems that provide cooled water for various uses such as refrigeration but not for drinking water. It is not contagious from person to person. It is treated with antibiotics, which can improve symptoms and shorten the length of illness. It typically strikes the elderly and people with compromised immune systems, and can be fatal, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Related News: