Disneyland shuts down cooling towers after reported disease outbreak

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Disneyland

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Disneyland has shut down two cooling towers after people who visited the Anaheim theme park came down with Legionnaires' disease.

Nine people were struck down with the illness at Disneyland. Ten of the people were hospitalized and one person "with additional health issues" died, despite not visiting the park, OCHCA Public Information Officer Jessica Good said in a report by KNBC-TV.

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

As reported by ABC 7, Disney's Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Pamela Hymel confirmed that Disney learned of the cases on October 27.

Health officials are investigating 12 cases of Legionnaires' disease traced to Anaheim, California, including nine cases among visitors to Disneyland in September. Disney independently made a decision to take the towers out of operation the day before, Good said. The park and a contractor tested the cooling towers and found elevated levels of Legionella bacteria.

The towers are shut down as they are treated with chemicals that kill this type of bacteria.

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"There is no longer any known risk associated with our facilities", officials said. The Walt Disney Company is the parent company of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and this station.

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

The 12 cases range in age from 52 to 94, Good said.

According to WebMD, Legionnaires' Disease is a "severe form of pneumonia that sickens about 5,000 people in the US each year".

The disease is caused by the bacterium Legionella pneumophila, found in both potable and nonpotable 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.

Eight guests and one worker at Disneyland have contracted Legionnaires' disease, prompting the Anaheim, Calif., theme park to close a pair of cooling towers.

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