Disneyland has shut down two cooling towers after people who visited the Southern California theme park came down with Legionnaires' disease. Nine of those people had visited Disneyland in September before they developed the illness.
Legionnaires' can cause severe pneumonia. People who develop symptoms may experience fever, cough, chills, shortness of breath, headaches, muscle aches and diarrhea.
Legionnaires' disease appear to be on the rise, with Orange County reporting more than 55 cases this year. Disneyland was informed of the cases October 27, chemically treating and voluntarily shutting down two cooling towers to rid them of the Legionella bacteria, said Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chief Medical Officer Pamela Hymel. "These towers were treated with chemicals that destroy the bacteria and are now shut down".
'There is no known ongoing risk associated with this outbreak, ' the agency said. One person, who had not visited Disneyland, died from the disease.
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People who have contracted Legionnaire's disease are not contagious. A Disneyland employee is among those who got sick.
The two cooling towers are located in a backstage area behind the New Orleans Square train station area of the theme park. Outbreaks often happen in hot tubs, cooling towers and large air-conditioning systems that emit water vapor into the air. Older people and those with health issues are particularly at risk.
"We conducted a review and learned that two cooling towers had elevated levels of Legionella bacteria", said Hymel. Disney independently made a decision to take the towers out of operation the day before, Good said. Soon after, an order was issued by the health agency requiring preventing Disney from reopening the towers before health officials verified that they were free from Legionella contamination.