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Disneyland Shuts Down Cooling Towers Due To Legionnaires’ Disease

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Disneyland has closed off two cooling towers in Orange County after authorities discovered bacteria contamination that got several people sick with Legionnaires’ disease.

Twelve cases of Legionnaires’ were found some three weeks ago in people who had spent some time in Anaheim, including nine people who had gone to Disneyland in September before falling ill, the Orange County Health Care Agency said. The patients were 52 to 94 years old, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The other three patients were residents of Orange County who did not go to the theme park but lived in or traveled to Anaheim. Ten had to be hospitalized and one person “with additional health issues” died, according to health officials. The person did not visit Disneyland.

Legionnaires’ disease, a severe lung infection, is caused by exposure to contaminated water. On the bright side, authorities said that there have not been any other cases of Legionnaires’ in Anaheim since September.

“There is no known ongoing risk associated with this outbreak,” the agency said.

The towers are located in a backstage area near Disneyland’s New Orleans Square Train Station, which are over 100 feet from areas that guests can visit. Dr. Pamela Hymel, chief medical officer for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, said,

On Oct. 27, we learned from the Orange County Health Care Agency of increased Legionnaires’ disease cases in Anaheim. We conducted a review and learned that two cooling towers had elevated levels of Legionella bacteria.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention informed county authorities around three weeks ago that there were several cases of the disease among people who had gone to Orange County in September.

Disney reported that a routine test had found elevated levels of the bacteria in two cooling towers, but these had been disinfected. The theme park shut down the towers on November 1 for more testing and disinfection, and again on Tuesday. Disneyland Resort spokeswoman Suzi Brown said. “The only reason they were turned back on was as part of the further disinfection process.”

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