Published: Sun, November 12, 2017
Medicine | By Daryl Nelson

Legionnaires outbreak shuts down Disneyland

Legionnaires outbreak shuts down Disneyland

Disneyland has shut down two bacteria-contaminated cooling towers after Orange County health officials discovered several cases of Legionnaires' disease in people who had visited the Anaheim theme park, authorities said.

"On November 3, 2017, Disney reported to HCA that records provided by a contractor indicated that (as part of their quarterly, routine testing) elevated levels of Legionella had been identified in (two of 18) cooling towers on October 2, 2017 and treated/disinfected by the contractor on October 4, 2017".

"On November 1, 2017, Disney had the towers taken out of service". One person, who had not visited Disneyland, died from the disease.

On Tuesday, Disney took the towers down again because the health agency ordered them to verify they were free of the Legionella contamination.

The towers traced to the outbreak were located near the New Orleans Square Train Station, both towers more than 100 feet from public areas.

"On Oct. 27, we learned from the Orange County Health Care Agency of increased Legionnaires' disease cases in Anaheim".

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The towers are shut down as they are treated with chemicals that kill this type of bacteria. "We have proactively shared this information with OCHCA (Orange County Health Care Agency) and given our actions".

"There is no longer any known risk associated with our facilities", officials said. Test results will not be known for approximately 10-14 days. Legionnaires' disease is caused by bacteria growing in water that can spread when small droplets get into the air and people breathe them in, according to the CDC. The victims' ages range from 52 to 94.

OCHCA said the Legionnaires' disease exposure period in Anaheim was September 12-27.

Officials say Legionella, at low levels, poses no threat to humans and is commonly found in human-made water systems. But in large concentrations, often due to stagnant or improperly sanitized water systems, the bacteria can be transmitted through inhaling contaminated water vapor.

The disease is not contagious.

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