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Disneyland shuts down 2 cooling towers after Legionnaires' disease cases

11 November 2017

Disneyland shutdown two cooling towers this week after a small number of visitors to the park were sickened with Legionnaires' disease, park officials told The Hollywood Reporter.

Crowds fill rafts to Tom Sawyer Island with New Orleans Square in the background sometime in 2015.

The patients, ranging in age from 52 to 94, lived or had spent time in Anaheim, and nine had visited Disneyland in September.

"On Oct. 27, we learned from the Orange County Health Care Agency of increased Legionnaires' disease cases in Anaheim", the statement read. A Disneyland employee is among those who got sick.

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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.

"On November 1, 2017, Disney had the towers taken out of service". The towers will reopen after it's confirmed they are no longer contaminated.

The county health agency alerted health care providers to keep an eye on anyone who visited Anaheim or Disneyland and contracted Legionnaires' disease before November 7. Chief medical officer for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Dr. Pamela Hymel said in a statement Friday that upon discovery of the illness-causing bacteria, the towers were cleaned and shut down.

The bacteria commonly is found in water systems and poses no threat to humans at low levels.

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Nine people contracted Legionnaires' disease after they visited Disneyland in Anaheim in September, officials said.

When Legionella bacterial levels are high, it can be transmitted through inhalation of contaminated water vapor. People who develop symptoms may experience fever, cough, chills, shortness of breath, headaches, muscle aches and diarrhea. An estimated 13,000 cases a year result in hospitalization around the country, which works out to about 35 people a day nationwide.

The disease can be treated with antibiotics.

The illness can not be spread by person to person contact. It typically strikes the elderly and people with compromised immune systems, and can be fatal, according to the Mayo Clinic.

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Disneyland shuts down 2 cooling towers after Legionnaires' disease cases