November 18, 2017

Disneyland shuts down cooling towers after Legionnaires' outbreak

11 November 2017, 10:36 | Silvia Roy

Getty Images Disneyland

Getty Images

County health officials say 12 people contracted the lung disease, including one Disneyland employee, with one person who had not visited the park ultimately dying.

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According to the Los Angeles Times, 12 cases of Legionnaires disease were discovered three weeks ago in people who had recently visited Disneyland. The Anaheim outbreak includes patients between ages 52 to 94.

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.

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Two are Anaheim residents, five were visitors who stayed in Anaheim between 9/12 and 9/27, and one is employed in Anaheim but lives in another county. They said that after testing, they found two towers "had elevated levels of Legionella bacteria".

According to the LA Times, the Orange County Health Care Agency, Disney reported on November 3rd that routine testing had detected elevated levels of the bacteria when the towers were taken out of service on November 1st for disinfection.

Legionellosis refers to illness caused by Legionella bacteria and usually results from exposure to contaminated water aerosols or from aspirating contaminated water.

The health agency said there is no ongoing risk to the public and no other cases have been reported, although they cautioned public health officials to be aware of the situation. The towers will reopen after it's confirmed they are no longer contaminated. Ten of the 12 people were hospitalized.

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Nine people have contracted Legionnaire's disease after visiting Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif. Outbreaks often happen in hot tubs, cooling towers and large air-conditioning systems that emit water vapor into the air.

The disease can be treated with antibiotics.

People ages 50 or older, or those with weakened immune systems, are most at risk for the illness.

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