Medicine

Disneyland shuts down cooling towers over Legionnaires' cases

Disneyland shuts down cooling towers over Legionnaires' cases

Disneyland has shut down two cooling towers at its theme park after a dozen cases, including one death, from Legionnaire's disease - a serious respiratory illness caused by the Legionella bacteria - were reported in Anaheim.

California's Orange County Health Agency (OCHA) said 12 cases of the disease were found three weeks ago, nine of which were reported back in September. Ten were hospitalized; one who did not visit the park died.

The age range of those that contracted the disease during this concentrated period goes from 52 to 94.

Pamela Hymel - the chief medical officer for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts - said in a written statement that after learning of the Legionnaires cases, park officials ordered the cooling towers treated with chemicals to destroy the bacteria and shut them down.

Legionnaires' disease is essentially an extremely unsafe form of pneumonia caused by inhaling the freshwater Legionella bacteria, which thrives in water systems like cooling towers, fountains, and hot tubs or pools that are not treated, per the Centres for Disease Control.

Good also said there was "no known ongoing risk with this outbreak".

There haven't been any new cases linked to Anaheim since September, the agency said.

Legionellosis refers to illness caused by Legionella bacteria and usually results from exposure to contaminated water aerosols or from aspirating contaminated water. It is typically contracted by breathing mist from the water that contains it.

Concern over a recent Legionnaire's disease outbreak in Orange County has prompted The Happiest Place on Earth® to take action.

Disneyland Park informed health officials this month that elevated levels of Legionella had been identified in two of its 18 towers, which were then treated and disinfected. Disney took the towers out of service on November 1, performed more testing and disinfection, and brought them back into service on November 5. The towers underwent more testing and disinfection on November 1 and were running again four days later. The towers will reopen after it's confirmed they are no longer contaminated.