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Published: Sun, November 12, 2017
Culture | By Antonia Gonzales

Disneyland shuts down cooling towers after reported disease outbreak

Disneyland shuts down cooling towers after reported disease outbreak

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.

According to a report from Deadline, nine of the 12 people who contracted the bacteria-caused illness had visited Disneyland - including one of the park's employees.

Case ages range from 52-94.

The remaining three were Orange County residents who did not visit the park but lived or traveled in Anaheim. Ten of the victims were hospitalized and one person - who had not visited Disneyland - had died. That person did not visit Disneyland, she said.

The park shared its information with the Orange County health experts, Hymel said, and "they have indicated there is no longer any known risk associated with our facilities".

According to Legionella.org, "Legionnaires' disease is a severe, often lethal, form of pneumonia".

The illness can not be spread by person to person contact. Good's email statement didn't indicate if any of those who contracted the disease were related to each other.

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.

County authorities were informed by the the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention three weeks ago of several cases of the disease among people who had traveled to Orange County in September.

Health agency officials say the disease is becoming more common, citing 55 reports of Legionella disease in Orange County through October 2017, compared with 53 for the entire year of 2016 and 33 in 2015.

The towers traced to the outbreak were located near the New Orleans Square Train Station, both towers more than 100 feet from public areas. It can become a health concern when it grows and spreads in human-made water systems like showers and faucets, cooling towers, decorative fountains and water features and so on. A similar upward trend has been seen nationally and elsewhere in Southern California, according to the health care agency, though what's causing that is unclear.

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