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Disneyland shuts cooling towers after Legionnaires' cases

14 November 2017

Jessica Good said in a statement that, "To date, no additional Legionella cases have been identified with potential exposure in Anaheim after September".

The two water towers that have been shut down were found to have elevated levels of Legionella bacteria on 1 November and were re-opened on 5 November. 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.

Disneyland shut down two water cooling towers after health officials discovered several cases of Legionnaire's disease among people who visited the popular California theme park, authorities said.

There haven't been any new cases linked to Anaheim since September, the agency said. Out of them, nine cases were related to those who visited Disneyland, including a Disneyland employee, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency. These 12 people were between the ages of 52 and 94.

The towers at Disneyland Park have been treated with chemicals to destroy any remaining bacteria. Subsequently, the towers were disinfected and put out of service on November 1.

Meanwhile, the county health agency also asked to watch for symptoms of the disease in anyone who may have become unwell after visiting Disneyland or Anaheim before November 7.

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According to CNN, Dr. Pamela Hymel, the chief medical officer for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, said that the towers were shut down after Disney was contacted by the county health care agency on October 27.

As the CDC outlines, Legionnaires' disease is a type of pneumonia that is caused when the Legionella bacteria contaminates freshwater.

Cooling towers are evaporative systems that provide cooled water for various uses such as refrigeration but not for drinking water. The disease's symptoms take two to 10 days to appear.

The illness can not be spread by person to person contact.

Hospital care and antibiotics can treat the disease, but one in 10 people can die from the infection. But if you smoke, have a weakened immune system, have a chronic lung disease, have another health condition like diabetes or cancer, or are over 50, you're more likely to become infected, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Disneyland shuts cooling towers after Legionnaires' cases