Disneyland Shuts Down Two Cooling Towers After Legionnaires' Disease Outbreak

Legionnaires' disease outbreak at Disneyland sickens nine visitors

Nine of those people had visited Disneyland in September before they developed the illness. One patient, who hadn't visited the park, has died.

The 12 cases of Legionnaires' were discovered about three weeks ago, in patients whose ages ranged from 52 to 94, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency, the Los Angeles Times reported. While many people have no symptoms, it can cause serious pneumonia and prove unsafe to those with lung or immune system problems.

Concern over a recent Legionnaire's disease outbreak in Orange County has prompted The Happiest Place on Earth® to take action.

Through testing, they learned that two water cooling towers had elevated levels of Legionella bacteria.

Most cases of the infection start when people inhale microscopic water droplets containing legionella bacteria.


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 source of the contaminated water can be hot tubs and whirlpools on cruise ships, grocery store mist machines, cooling towers in air conditioning systems, decorative fountains, swimming pools, physical therapy equipment, water systems in hotels, hospitals and nursing homes.

The towers are located near the New Orleans Square Train Station in the theme park.

Pamela Hymel, Chief Medical Officer for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, said in an email Saturday that Disney was informed by the county Health Care Agency of the outbreak on October 27. The towers were chemically treated to combat the problem, and there is no ongoing threat to guests' health, the Register reports.

"We conducted a review and learned that two cooling towers had elevated levels of Legionella bacteria", the statement said. The disease can also cause cardiac, renal and gastrointestinal involvement. Older people and those with health issues are particularly at risk.

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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