Eight Disneyland guests, one worker contracted Legionnaires' disease

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Disneyland shut down two cooling towers in October after people who visited the Southern California theme park were diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease.

Besides the nine cases, three other people who lived in or traveled to Anaheim developed the disease, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency, as reported by the Los Angeles Times.

Of the 12 cases being investigated, all patients range in age from 52 to 94 years old, said OCHCA Public Information Officer Jessica Good in a press release. One person, who had not visited Disneyland, died from the disease. That person had not visited Disneyland.

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

The discovery has led to the shutdown of two cooling towers at Disneyland, which nine of the 12 people visited during September.

Authorities said that visitors are no longer at risk of contracting the disease - a severe lung infection caused by exposure to contaminated water or mist.

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According to the health agency, on November 3 Disney reported that routine testing detected elevated levels of Legionella pneumophila in two cooling towers a month earlier, and the towers had been disinfected.

In a statement, Dr. Pamela Hymel, chief medical officer for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, said Disneyland learned about the Legionnaires' cases on October 27.

The towers are in a backstage area near the New Orleans Square Train Station, each more than 100 feet from areas accessible to guests, a Disneyland Resort spokeswoman said. The county contacted Disney after it discovered several had gone to the park.

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On Tuesday, Disney took the towers down again because the health agency ordered them to verify they were free of the Legionella contamination. The incubation period is two to 10 days before symptoms appear, after exposure to the bacteria. 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. Legionnaires' disease is not spread person to person.

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