What Is Legionnaires' Disease? Disneyland Shuts Down Cooling Towers After Outbreak

Disneyland has shut down two cooling towers in response to a number of visitors to the Anaheim, California, theme park coming down with Legionnaires' disease.

Twelve people in the Anaheim region have been affected by the disease, including one who died.

The victims were aged between 52 and 94. Health officials said 10 people were hospitalized, and one person "with additional health issues" died but was not among those who visited Disneyland.

Legionnaires' disease is essentially an extremely unsafe form of pneumonia caused by inhaling the freshwater Legionella bacteria, which thrives in water systems like cooling towers, fountains, and hot tubs or pools that are not treated, per the Centres for Disease Control.

County health officials identified Disneyland Park as a common location of eight of the cases last month, and have been working to identify potential sources, Good said.

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Nine people contracted Legionnaires' disease after visiting Disneyland in September, a Disneyland spokesperson confirmed Saturday.

Legionnaires' disease is a bacterial lung infection caused by exposure to contaminated water or mist.

No other cases of the disease have been reported since September.

The agency said there is no known ongoing risk associated with the outbreak.

Disney took the towers out of service again on Tuesday because the health agency required they remain down until test results verify they are free of Legionella contamination.

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The towers are located near the New Orleans Square Train Station in the theme park.

The disease can be treated with antibiotics.

The chief medical officer for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Pamela Hymel, said in a written statement that after learning of the Legionnaires cases, park officials ordered the cooling towers treated with chemicals to destroy the bacteria and shut them down.

"These towers were treated with chemicals that destroy the bacteria and are now shut down", said Hymel. It typically strikes the elderly and people with compromised immune systems, and can be fatal, according to the Mayo Clinic.

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