Disneyland shuts down cooling towers following Legionnaire's cases among guests

Visitors ride the Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride at Disneyland in Anaheim Calif. in 2015

AP Visitors ride the Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride at Disneyland in Anaheim Calif. in 2015

Disneyland has shut down two cooling towers after people who visited the Southern California theme park came down with Legionnaires' disease.

According to a report from Deadline, nine of the 12 people who contracted the bacteria-caused illness had visited Disneyland - including one of the park's employees. The park and a contractor tested the cooling towers and found elevated levels of Legionella bacteria.

"There is no known ongoing risk associated with this outbreak", the agency said in a statement. The victims' ages range from 52 to 94.

Legionellosis refers to illness caused by Legionella bacteria and usually results from exposure to contaminated water aerosols or from aspirating contaminated water.

The towers traced to the outbreak were located near the New Orleans Square Train Station, both towers more than 100 feet from public areas.

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People who have contracted Legionnaire's disease are not contagious.

"On October 27, 2017, when the Disneyland Park was identified as a common location of eight (8) cases, HCA contacted the Disney organization and set up site visits at the Park to assess potential sources".

According to the health agency, on November 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.

The county agency issued an order November 8 requiring Disney to take the towers out of service until they are shown to be free from contamination. It is treated with antibiotics and hospital care, but one in 10 of those who contract the disease dies from infection. It typically strikes the elderly and people with compromised immune systems, and can be fatal, according to the Mayo Clinic.

"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. But in large concentrations, often due to stagnant or improperly sanitized water systems, the bacteria can be transmitted through inhaling contaminated water vapor.

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