Disneyland shuts down 2 cooling towers after Legionnaires' disease cases

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Disneyland

The famous theme park took action after it was discovered that high levels of bacteria that can cause Legionnaires' Disease were in the towers.

According to a report from The Orange County Register, officials are investigating 12 cases of Legionnaires' disease that were contracted by people from or visiting the Anaheim area.

There has been one death - the person had not visited the theme park.

The 12 patients are between ages 52 and 94, and 10 were hospitalized, she said.

Cooling towers provide cold water for various uses at Disneyland and give off a vapour or mist that could have carried the Legionella bacteria.

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

"There is no known ongoing risk associated with this outbreak", the agency said in a statement.

Legionnaires' disease is a severe, often lethal, form of pneumonia.

According to Good, during the week of October 20-26 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notified Health Care Agency staff of the Legionnaire's disease cases that occurred in September.

It's caused by the bacterium Legionnella pneumophilia.

Most cases of the infection start when people inhale microscopic water droplets containing legionella bacteria. It is treated with antibiotics and hospital care, but one in 10 of those who contract the disease dies from infection.

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. The towers were taken out of service November 1, disinfected, went back in operation on November 5 but were shut down again Tuesday and will remain offline until tests confirm they are free from contamination, according to the park and the county health agency.

Hymel says that most people who are exposed to the bacteria do not become ill, and those that are at risk are people who are immunocompromised, elderly, and or have chronic lung disease.

Health officials subsequently issued an order that the towers remain shut down until they are verified to be free from contamination.

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