Disneyland Shuts Down Cooling Towers After Several Visitors Contract Legionnaires

Legionnaires Disease Found Among Disneyland Visitors

Disneyland in Anaheim, California, was forced to shut down two cooling towers after cases of Legionnaires' disease was found in park visitors, KRON4 reported. An estimated 13,000 cases a year result in hospitalization around the country, which works out to about 35 people a day nationwide. Of that total, nine had visited the park in September, and the remainder lived or traveled in Anaheim.

"These towers were treated with chemicals that destroy the bacteria and are now shut down", said Hymel. 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. A Disneyland employee is among those who got sick. Of the twelve reported cases in Anaheim, patients ranged in age from 52 to 94.

According to Good, during the week of October 20-26 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notified Health Care Agency staff of the Legionnaire's disease cases that occurred in September.

The agency said there is no known ongoing risk associated with the outbreak.

The health agency told The AP that no new cases have been reported.

The county agency issued an order November 8 requiring Disney to take the towers out of service until they are shown to be free from contamination.

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. It is treated with antibiotics and hospital care, but one in 10 of those who contract the disease dies from infection. Typical sources are improperly sanitized spas; indoor and outdoor fountains, showers, and cooling towers (which emit water vapor into the air) used as part of air conditioning systems in large spaces such as hospitals, hotels, entertainment venues, etc.

Those most at risk of getting sick from Legionella infection include people who are smokers, have chronic lung disease or weak immune systems, and people over the age of 65.

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