Thursday, 23 November, 2017

Visitors to Disneyland California hit by Legionnaires disease

Getty Images
Disneyland Getty Images Disneyland
Angelo Anderson | 13 November, 2017, 00:53

Disneyland Park has shut down two cooling towers at its park in Southern California following an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease.

Eight of the twelve cases relate to persons visiting Disneyland, as well as someone who worked at the tourist destination.

The other three cases were among residents of Anaheim, but they did not visit the park during the outbreak. One of those infected was a Disney worker.

Ten of them were hospitalized, out of which one person (who had not visited Disneyland) reportedly died.

The park and a contractor tested the cooling towers and found elevated levels of Legionella bacteria.

Orange County has had more than 55 reported cases of Legionnaires' disease this year and the number of cases has increased in recent years both in the county and nationally, according to the health care agency.

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About a dozen people in the Anaheim, CA area, or visitors to the area in September were diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease, according to Orange County health officials. Those towers were chemically treated and shut down to eliminate further infection. Disney independently chose to take the towers out of operation the day before, Good said. The age of the other patients range from 52 to 94, the Orange County Health Care Agency said Friday.

Disneyland Park informed health officials this month that elevated levels of Legionella had been identified in two of its 18 towers, which were then treated and disinfected. The source of the contaminated water can be hot tubs and whirlpools on cruise ships, grocery store mist machines, cooling towers in air conditioning systems, decorative fountains, swimming pools, physical therapy equipment, water systems in hotels, hospitals and nursing homes. An employee working in the facility also got infected with the same disease. Older people and those with health issues are particularly at risk.

Disney took the towers out of service again on Tuesday.

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.

Health officials subsequently issued an order that the towers remain shut down until they are verified to be free from contamination.

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