Cooling towers provide cold water for various uses at Disneyland and give off a vapor or mist that could have carried the Legionnella bacteria. The move followed after the county healthcare agency noticed that people recently infected with Legionnaires' disease visited the tourist attraction not long ago. The people infected by the disease were between the ages of 52 and 94.
Disneyland has shut down two cooling towers after people who visited the Southern California theme park came down with Legionnaires' disease.
Jessica Good, a spokeswoman for the Orange County Health Care Agency (OCHCA), told CNN that nine people who had gone to Disneyland in September and three other people who had not visited the park contracted the disease.
Disneyland was notified about the outbreak on October 27 and stopped using the two cooling towers on November 1. These towers were closed down and disinfected to clear them of the disease. More disinfection and testing measures were followed before bringing the towers back into service on November 5.
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.
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Disneyland, however, took the cooling towers out of service again on November 7, in advance of an order issued by the health agency the next day, which required they remain nonoperational until test results guarantee they are free from contamination.
As the Mayo Clinic reports in its overview of the disease, not everyone who is exposed to the Legionella bacteria will get sick.
"On Oct. 27, we learned from the Orange County Health Care Agency of increased Legionnaires' disease cases in Anaheim". It shows up two to 10 days after infection and there is no vaccine to prevent it. However, it is not contagious, as it is not spread from one person to another. 10 of the 12 people were hospitalized after contracting the disease. While many people have no symptoms, it can cause serious pneumonia and prove unsafe to those with lung or immune system problems.