Health Care

Disneyland shuts down water coolers following DEADLY disease outbreak

Disneyland shuts down water coolers following DEADLY disease outbreak

"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.

It's caused by the bacterium Legionnella pneumophilia.

Symptoms develop 2 to 10 days after exposure, the OCHCA said, and include fever, chills, cough, muscle aches, and headaches.

ANAHEIM, CA - DECEMBER 13: Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse Statue at Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty's Holiday Castle and "Believe In Holiday Magic" Fireworks spectacular held at Disneyland Resort on December 13, 2007 in Anaheim, California.

Although the disease primarily targets the lungs, it is also known to infect open wounds and other vital organs of the body such as the heart.

The disease is treatable, but roughly one in 10 people who contract the disease die from it, with people over 50 with weakened immune systems or chronic lung disease most at risk. "It can become a health concern if it grows and spreads in human-made water systems and then comes in contact with vulnerable persons who inhale small droplets of contaminated water". It is typically contracted by breathing mist from the water that contains it.

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The sources of the infection, in this case, were two cooling towers of the world-famous amusement park that was contaminated with the bacteria.

Orange County has had more than 55 reported cases of Legionnaires' disease this year and the number of cases has increased in recent years both in the county and nationally, according to the health care agency. "These towers were treated with chemicals that destroy the bacteria and are now shut down".

A dozen cases of the bacterial illness were discovered approximately three weeks ago, the Orange County Health Care Agency confirmed to The Associated Press. "We have proactively shared this information with OCHCA and given our actions, they have indicated there is no longer any known risk associated with our facilities".

The towers are in a backstage area near the New Orleans Square Train Station, a Disneyland Resort spokesperson said. All the patients lived or had spent time in Anaheim and nine had visited Disneyland in September. The other nine are suffering from "additional health issues" at present.

Disney shut down the two water cooling towers after officials detected high levels of the bacteria from the virus, according to reports. Disney independently chose to take the towers out of operation the day before, Good said.

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.