Disneyland Shuts Down Cooling Towers After Disease Reported

November 11, 2017 Updated: November 11, 2017

Disneyland in Anaheim, California, was forced to shut down two cooling towers after cases of Legionnaires’ disease was found in park visitors, KRON4 reported.

One person, who had not visited Disneyland, has died of the disease, the OC Register reported, citing officials.

The Orange County Health Care Agency said there was an increase in Legionnaires’ cases in Anaheim, prompting officials at the park to investigate. They said that after testing, they found two towers “had elevated levels of Legionella bacteria.”

“Legionnaires’ disease is a severe, often lethal, form of pneumonia,” according to Legionella.org.

Twelve cases of the disease were reported in Anaheim in September, the Register reports, but it’s not confirmed how many cases came from Disneyland. Eight were visitors who stayed in Anaheim between Sept. 12 and Sept. 27, one was employed there, two were residents of the city, and one lived in another county but worked in Anaheim.

Of the 12, 10 have been hospitalized and one has died. The deceased had not visited Disneyland, the Register reports.

The towers were treated with a chemical that kills the bacteria and brought back into operation Sunday, according to the Register.

“There is no longer any known risk associated with our facilities,” officials said, according to Kron4.

Some 10,000 to 18,000 people in the United States who are infected with the bacteria each year, according to Legionella.org.

“We conducted a review and learned that two cooling towers had elevated levels of Legionella bacteria,” Dr. Pamela Hymel, chief medical officer for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, said in a statement, according to the OC Register. “These towers were treated with chemicals that destroy the bacteria and are currently shut down.”

According to the Los Angeles Times:

“The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notified county authorities about three weeks ago of several cases of the disease among people who had traveled to Orange County in September. County epidemiologists discovered that a cluster of people diagnosed with the disease had recently visited, lived or worked in Anaheim and contacted Disney after learning that several of them had gone to the theme park.

According to the health agency, on Nov. 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. Disney took the towers out of service on Nov. 1, performed more testing and disinfection, and brought them back into service on Nov. 5.”

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