Disneyland shuts down 2 cooling towers after Legionnaires' disease sickens park visitors

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Disneyland

American authorities are investigating 12 cases of the bacterial lung infection that affected people living in or visiting Anaheim, California.

Twelve cases of the disease have been reported in the Anaheim area; among those, eight people had visited Disneyland in September and one worked there, the Register reports.

The victims were aged between 52 and 94.

"We conducted a review and learned that two cooling towers had elevated levels of Legionella bacteria", Hymel said in the release.

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.

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).

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"Legionnaires' disease is not contagious, can not be transmitted person to person, and comes from a bacteria that is naturally in the environment, usually in water", says Dr. Hymel.

Health officials subsequently issued an order that the towers remain shut down until they are verified to be free from contamination.

Most cases of the infection start when people inhale microscopic water droplets containing legionella bacteria.

The towers, in question, are located in the backstage area near the New Orleans Square Train Station, each more than 100 feet from the areas accessible to visitors. "These towers were treated with chemicals that destroy the bacteria and are now shut down".

Hymel said that local health officials had assured them that there was no longer any risk to guests or employees of the park.

The disease can be treated with antibiotics. It typically strikes the elderly and people with compromised immune systems, and can be fatal, according to the Mayo Clinic. Disney took the towers out of service on November 1, performed more testing and disinfection, and brought them back into service on November 5.

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