Disneyland Shuts Down Cooling Towers After Disease Reported

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Disneyland shut down two bacteria-contaminated cooling towers after the cases of the disease were reported.

Ten of the 12 people who became ill were hospitalized.

Nine people have contracted Legionnaire's disease after visiting Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif.

"These towers were treated with chemicals that destroy the bacteria and are now shut down", said Hymel.

Legionellosis refers to illness caused by Legionella bacteria and usually results from exposure to contaminated water aerosols or from aspirating contaminated water. According to health officials, the person who died in connection to the Disneyland outbreak had additional health issues.

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Orange County health officials say they have been notified of eight cases of Legionnaires' disease in the month of September.

Health agency officials say the disease is becoming more common, citing 55 reports of Legionella disease in Orange County through October 2017, compared with 53 for the entire year of 2016 and 33 in 2015. Of the twelve reported cases in Anaheim, patients ranged in age from 52 to 94. County epidemiologists discovered that a cluster of people diagnosed with the disease had recently visited, lived or worked in Anaheim and contacted Disney after learning that several of them had gone to the theme park.

After Disney took steps to get rid of the bacteria, the OCHCA "indicated there is no longer any known risk associated with our facilities", Hymel said.

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. Outbreaks often happen in hot tubs, cooling towers and large air-conditioning systems that emit water vapor into the air. Good's email statement didn't indicate if any of those who contracted the disease were related to each other.

Those most at risk of getting sick from Legionella infection include people who are smokers, have chronic lung disease or weak immune systems, and people over the age of 65.

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