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Disneyland Decontaminates Cooling Towers Linked To Legionnaire's Disease Outbreak
February 22 2018, 04:22 | Rex Rios
Disneyland has shut down and decontaminated two cooling towers following an outbreak of Legionnaires disease that sickened 12 people, of which nine are guests or employees at the theme park in Anaheim, county health officials said on Saturday.
An additional three people who had been to Anaheim but not Disneyland got sick, said Jessica Good, a spokeswoman for the Orange County Health Care Agency (OCHCA). The age of the other patients range from 52 to 94, the Orange County Health Care Agency said Friday.
Legionnaires' disease is a type of pneumonia caused by legionella bacteria. The Mayo Clinic says it takes two to 10 days for those exposed to show symptoms, which include headaches, chills, fever, and eventually serious respiratory complications.
The remaining three were Orange County residents who did not visit the park but lived or traveled in Anaheim.
Pamela Hymel - the chief medical officer for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts - said in a written statement that after learning of the Legionnaires cases, park officials ordered the cooling towers treated with chemicals to destroy the bacteria and shut them down.
"These towers were treated with chemicals that destroy the bacteria and are now shut down", said Hymel. "There is no known ongoing risk associated with this outbreak". The Walt Disney Company is the parent company of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and this station. One person, who had not visited Disneyland, died from the disease.
The disease is treatable, but roughly one in 10 people who contract the disease die from it, with people over 50 with weakened immune systems or chronic lung disease most at risk.
On November 3, Disney reported that routine testing had detected elevated levels of Legionella in two cooling towers a month earlier, and they were disinfected, according to the health agency. The towers were taken out of service November 1, disinfected, went back in operation on November 5 but were shut down again Tuesday and will remain offline until tests confirm they are free from contamination, according to the park and the county health agency.