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Legionnaires' disease outbreak at Disneyland sickens nine visitors

Legionnaires' disease outbreak at Disneyland sickens nine visitors

Disneyland shut down two cooling towers contaminated with bacteria after health officials discovered cases of Legionnaires' disease among people who had visited the theme park, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Nine people contracted Legionnaires' disease after they visited Disneyland in Anaheim in September, officials said.

"Legionnaires' disease is not contagious, can not be transmitted person to person, and comes from a bacteria that is naturally in the environment, usually in water", says Dr. Hymel. People who develop symptoms may experience fever, cough, chills, shortness of breath, headaches, muscle aches and diarrhea.

Nine of the afflicted had visited the park, with the others living or traveling in Anaheim. Walt Disney Parks and Resorts chief medical officer Dr. Pamela Hymel noted in a statement on the matter that Disney was informed on October 27 about the potential link the park had to the recent Legionnaires' disease reports. The towers were chemically treated to combat the problem, and there is no ongoing threat to guests' health, the Register reports. "There is no longer any known risk associated with our facilities".

One individual, who did not visit the park, died from the disease although they were already suffering from other health issues.

The two cooling towers are located in a backstage area behind the New Orleans Square train station area of the theme park. People can contract the disease by breathing in small droplets of water in the air that contain the Legionella bacteria. But in large concentrations, often due to stagnant or improperly sanitized water systems, the bacteria can be transmitted through inhaling contaminated water vapor. Older people and those with health issues are particularly at risk. On Nov. 1, more testing and disinfection was performed and the towers were brought back into service on Nov. 5.

The county agency issued an order November 8 requiring Disney to take the towers out of service until they are shown to be free from contamination.

Disney took the towers out of service again on Tuesday.

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