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Disneyland shuts down cooling towers following Legionnaire's cases among guests

11 November 2017

County health officials say 12 people contracted the lung disease, including one Disneyland employee, with one person who had not visited the park ultimately dying.

A dozen cases of the bacterial lung infection were discovered about three weeks ago, the Orange County Health Care Agency announced Friday.

Three of the patients did not visit Disneyland, but did live or travel in Anaheim, Good said.

The two water cooling towers are located in a backstage area near the New Orleans Square Train Station, more than 100 feet from public areas.

In an email to CBS Los Angeles, the park's chief medical officer, Dr. Pamela Hymel, said the towers were "treated with chemicals that destroy the bacteria" and were shut down.

Nine people have contracted Legionnaire's disease after visiting Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif.

On Nov. 3, Disney informed the health agency that routine testing had detected elevated levels of Legionella bacteria in two cooling towers a month earlier.

"These towers were treated with chemicals that destroy the bacteria and are now shut down", said Hymel. Legionnaires' can cause severe pneumonia and is spread by mist from contaminated water. That outbreak, which sickened 182 and resulted in 29 deaths, was traced to the convention hotel's air conditioning system.

Twelve cases of the disease were reported in Anaheim in September, the Register reports, but it's not confirmed how many cases came from Disneyland. According to health officials, the person who died in connection to the Disneyland outbreak had additional health issues. The county contacted Disney after it discovered several had gone to the park. It is not contagious from person to person.

"We have proactively shared this information with OCHCA and given our actions, they have indicated there is no longer any known risk associated with our facilities".

The illness can be treated with antibiotics and hospital care, but about 10 percent of people who get it die from the infection. Those who were afflicted ranged in age from 52 to 94. While many people have no symptoms, it can cause serious pneumonia and prove risky to those with lung or immune system problems.

Disneyland shuts down cooling towers following Legionnaire's cases among guests