Disneyland has shut down two bacteria-contaminated cooling towers because Orange County health officials discovered several cases of Legionnaires’ disease in people who had visited the Anaheim theme park.
Even three persons who were Orange County residents and who did not visit the park but lived or traveled in Anaheim were infected. “On Oct. 27, we learned from the Orange County Health Care Agency of increased Legionnaires’ disease cases in Anaheim. We conducted a review and learned that two cooling towers had elevated levels of Legionella bacteria,” Dr. Pamela Hymel, chief medical officer for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, said in a statement.
Legionnaires’ is a severe lung infection caused by exposure to contaminated water or mist. It takes two to 10 days for symptoms of Legionnaires’ to appear. Legionnaires’ is not spread person to person. The illness can be treated with antibiotics and hospital care. 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 Friday. Chemicals that destroy the bacteria were used on the two towers for disinfection. The county health agency has also alerted healthcare providers to look out for Legionnaires’ disease in anyone who may have become ill after visiting Anaheim or Disneyland before Nov. 7.