Disneyland Shuts Down Cooling Towers After Disease Reported

Visitors ride the Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride at Disneyland in Anaheim Calif. in 2015

Nine cases of Legionnaires' disease have been diagnosed among Disneyland visitors in recent months and the Disneyland Resort has closed two backstage cooling towers located behind New Orleans Square.

According to the Los Angeles Times, 12 cases of Legionnaires disease were discovered three weeks ago in people who had recently visited Disneyland. The victims' ages range from 52 to 94.

The Orange County Health Care Agency said there was an increase in Legionnaires' cases in Anaheim, prompting officials at the park to investigate. One patient, who hadn't visited the park, has died, the agency said. That person did not visit Disneyland.

"On November 1, 2017, Disney had the towers taken out of service".

Legionnaires' disease is caused by Legionella bacteria that grows in water, and it can spread when small droplets get into the air, according to the CDC.

Although the Health Care Agency sent alerts to medical providers and other public health departments to help identify other people who have contracted Legionnaire's disease, the agency issued no public press releases or statements because "there was no known, ongoing risk associated with this event", Good said. They were turned on November 5th, but were taken out of service again on November 7th and will remain off until tests verify they are free from Legionella contamination.

People who have contracted Legionnaire's disease are not contagious.

The bacteria commonly is found in water systems and poses no threat to humans at low levels.

When Legionella bacterial levels are high, it can be transmitted through inhalation of contaminated water vapor.

Symptoms of legionellosis develop 2-10 days after exposure, and include fever, chills, cough, muscle aches, and headaches. An estimated 13,000 cases a year result in hospitalization around the country, which works out to about 35 people a day nationwide. It typically strikes the elderly and people with compromised immune systems, and can be fatal, according to the Mayo Clinic.

The disease can be treated with antibiotics.



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