Disneyland Shuts Down Cooling Towers Amid Legionnaires' Disease Outbreak

Henrietta Strickland
November 14, 2017

While many people have no symptoms, it can cause serious pneumonia and prove risky to those with lung or immune system problems. If that contaminated water is in droplets that are small enough for people to breathe in, like from a shower, hot tub, decorative fountain, or (as what may have occurred in Disneyland) an air conditioning cooling unit, then they can contract the respiratory disease. They are located in a backstage area near the New Orleans Square Train Station, away from guests.

Twelve cases of Legionnaires' disease were detected about three weeks ago among people aged between 52 and 94 and had spent time in Disneyland Anaheim.

The Orange County Register also revealed that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the main national public health center of the United States estimated that the disease has been reported in 6000 cases in 2015 nationwide. The disease's symptoms take two to 10 days to appear. Ten out of the 12 patients were hospitalized, and one was a Disneyland employee, the Los Angeles Times reported. A twelfth victim experienced complications and subsequently died. Older people and those with health issues are particularly at risk.

Disneyland has shut down two cooling centers following an outbreak of Legionnaires disease.

Disneyland was informed of the Anaheim cases on October 27 and after testing found that two cooling towers had elevated levels of Legionella bacteria. These towers were closed down and disinfected to clear them of the disease. "These towers were treated with chemicals that destroy the bacteria and are now shut down".

Legionnaires' disease is a severe, potentially deadly type of pneumonia caused by the bacterium Legionella pneumophila, which is found in both potable and nonpotable water systems.

Disneyland, however, took the cooling towers out of service again on November 7, in advance of an order issued by the health agency the next day, which required they remain nonoperational until test results guarantee they are free from contamination. In 2006, a Canadian nursing home was the source of another epidemic that led to 21 deaths. Legionnaires' disease is not transferable between humans.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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