Saturday, 18 November, 2017

Disneyland shuts down cooling towers after Legionnaires' outbreak

Legionnaires Disease Found Among Disneyland Visitors Associated Press
Sammy Stanley | 12 November, 2017, 01:35

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

According to a LA Times report, Disney reported on November 3 that routine testing had detected elevated levels of Legionella in two cooling towers a month earlier, and the towers had been disinfected. Disney independently made a decision to take the towers out of operation the day before, Good said.

Disneyland says it learned about the Legionnaires' cases in late October and shut down and disinfected two cooling towers that tested for high levels of the bacteria.

On Tuesday, Disney took the towers down again because the health agency ordered them to verify they were free of the Legionella contamination.

According to the Orange County health agency Legionella is becoming more common in the United States and in Orange County, where 55 cases have been reported through October 2017, compared with 53 for all of 2016 and 33 in 2015. "These towers were treated with chemicals that destroy the bacteria and are now shut down". Ten of the 11 ill were hospitalized, and one person died. The Walt Disney Company is the parent company of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and this station.

The park shared its information with the Orange County health experts, Hymel said, and "they have indicated there is no longer any known risk associated with our facilities".

Test results for the towers could take up to two weeks. Legionnaires' disease is caused by bacteria growing in water that can spread when small droplets get into the air and people breathe them in, according to the CDC. Of the twelve reported cases in Anaheim, patients ranged in age from 52 to 94. That person did not visit Disneyland, she said.

Officials say Legionella, at low levels, poses no threat to humans and is commonly found in human-made water systems.

Cooling towers provide cold water for various uses at Disneyland and give off a vapor or mist that could have carried the Legionnella bacteria.

The disease is not contagious.

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