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11 November 2017, 10:35 | Melissa Porter
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. An estimated 13,000 cases a year result in hospitalization around the country, which works out to about 35 people a day nationwide.
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.
Nine people contracted Legionnaires' disease after they visited Disneyland in Anaheim in September, officials said.
"These towers were treated with chemicals that destroy the bacteria and are now shut down", said Hymel. The towers are not in public areas.
The remaining three were Orange County residents who did not visit the park but lived or traveled in Anaheim.
Ten of the twelve were hospitalized and one person "with additional health issues" died, according to health officials.
Disneyland says it learned about the Legionnaires' cases in late October and shut down and disinfected two cooling towers that tested for high levels of the bacteria.
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". The Anaheim outbreak includes patients between ages 52 to 94. It is treated with antibiotics and hospital care, but one in 10 of those who contract the disease dies from infection.
The bacteria commonly is found in water systems and poses no threat to humans at low levels. While many people have no symptoms, it can cause serious pneumonia and prove risky to those with lung or immune system problems. Typical sources are improperly sanitized spas; indoor and outdoor fountains, showers, and cooling towers (which emit water vapor into the air) used as part of air conditioning systems in large spaces such as hospitals, hotels, entertainment venues, etc.
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