Disneyland Shuts Down 2 Cooling Towers After Legionnaires' Disease Sickens Park Visitors

Legionnaires Disease Found Among Disneyland Visitors

Associated Press

Disneyland shutdown two cooling towers this week after a small number of visitors to the park were sickened with Legionnaires' disease, park officials told The Hollywood Reporter.

The 12 cases of the bacteria-caused illness were discovered about three weeks ago and included nine people who had visited Disneyland Park in September before developing the illness, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency. The victims' ages range from 52 to 94.

"Since that time, HCA staff have visited Park properties and worked with Disney to identify potential sources of Legionella", said Jessica Good, spokeswoman for the Orange County Health Agency. Ten of the 11 ill were hospitalized, and one person died. That person did not visit Disneyland. 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.

The infection is treatable, though about one in 10 people who contract Legionnaires' - usually those over 50 with weakened immune systems or chronic lung disease - die from it.

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

According to the health agency, on November 3, Disney reported that routine testing had detected elevated levels of Legionella in two cooling towers a month earlier, and the towers had been disinfected.

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

According to a LA Times report, Disney reported on November 3 that routine testing had detected elevated levels of Legionella in two cooling towers a month earlier, and the towers had been disinfected.

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"There is no longer any known risk associated with our facilities", officials said.

The company said the towers, located in a space more than 100 feet from areas accessible to guests, were disinfected and were returned to service Sunday.

According to Legionella.org, "Legionnaires' disease is a severe, often lethal, form of pneumonia".

ANAHEIM, CA - DECEMBER 13: Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse Statue at Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty's Holiday Castle and "Believe In Holiday Magic" Fireworks spectacular held at Disneyland Resort on December 13, 2007 in Anaheim, California.

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

Persons with legionellosis are not infectious; the infection is not spread from person to person.

The disease can be treated with antibiotics.

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