Disneyland Shuts Down 2 Cooling Towers After Legionnaires’ Disease

Disney have recently closed down two cooling towers in a backstage area of Disneyland Resort near the New Orleans Square train station, after it was discovered that they had elevated levels of a bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease.

The Orange County health experts are investigating 12 cases of Legionnaires’ disease in the Anaheim area, 8 of which have visited Disneyland and 1 is a cast member. There has also been a death from one of the people with the disease, however they had not visited Disneyland and had other health issues.

Orange County Health Care Agency spokesperson Jessica Good, told the OC Register that the agency found 12 people, ages 52 to 94, were diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease, a type of airborne disease that causes a severe form of pneumonia to most people 50 years or older or with a weak immune system.

Legionnaires’ disease usually results from inhaling microscopic water droplets in mist or vapor such as hot tubs and air conditioners, as well in freshwater, however those rarely causes infections and the disease cannot be spread through person-to-person contact.

Disney have responded in a statement by Dr. Pamela Hymel, who is the chief medical officer for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, said “We conducted a review and learned that two cooling towers had elevated levels of Legionella bacteria. These towers were treated with chemicals that destroy the bacteria and are currently shut down. There is no longer any known risk associated with our facilities.”

Since that statement, Disney have performed subsequent testing and disinfection and brought the towers back into service. There also haven’t been any more additional Legionella cases after September and there is no known ongoing risk associated with this outbreak.

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