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Disneyland shuts down cooling towers after nine contract Legionnaires

12 November 2017

Twelve cases of the disease have been reported in the Anaheim area; among those, eight people had visited Disneyland in September and one worked there, the Register reports.

A Disneyland employee is among those who contracted the disease, according to the report.

After the Orange County Health Care Agency reported an increase of Legionnaires' cases in Anaheim, the park investigated and found two towers had "had elevated levels of Legionella bacteria".

An outbreak of Legionnaire's disease in Orange County has been traced to two cooling towers at Disneyland. By the end of October, Disneyland learned of the cases.

The chief medical officer for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Pamela Hymel, 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. 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.

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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. The towers will reopen after it's confirmed they are no longer contaminated. The affected patients, all of whom are 52 to 94 years old, all live in or have recently visited Anaheim.

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.

OCHCA said the Legionnaires' disease exposure period in Anaheim was September 12-27.

Legionnaires' disease is a severe, often lethal, form of pneumonia. It is not contagious from person to person.

Pontiac fever is a self-limited, influenza-like illness without pneumonia that has a 1-2 day incubation period caused by an inflammatory response to L. pneumophila-produced endotoxin.

Disneyland shuts down cooling towers after nine contract Legionnaires