Disneyland shuts down 2 cooling towers over Legionnaires’ cases

The classic Disney characters welcome visitors outside Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif. (L-R) Pluto, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy and Donald Duck.

ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. (CNN) — Disneyland shut down two cooling towers Sunday at its park in Southern California following an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease.

Orange County health officials said nine people who visited the Anaheim theme park in September developed the disease.

An additional three people who had been to Anaheim but not Disneyland got sick too, said Jessica Good, a spokeswoman for the Orange County Health Care Agency. One patient, who had not visited the park and had additional health issues, died, she said.

The 12 patients are between ages 52 and 94, and 10 were hospitalized, she said.

CNN has reached out to Disneyland for comment but has not heard back.

“To date, no additional Legionella cases have been identified with potential exposure in Anaheim after September,” Good said. “There is no known ongoing risk associated with this outbreak.”

Legionnaires disease is a severe form of pneumonia caused by Legionella bacteria, sometimes found in water systems. It is typically contracted by breathing mist from the water that contains it. The source of the mist can be air conditioning units in large facilities, showers or hot tubs. Legionnaires’ disease is not contagious between humans.

County health officials identified Disneyland Park as a common location of eight of the cases last month, and have been working to identify potential sources, Good said.

Disneyland Park informed health officials this month that elevated levels of Legionella had been identified in two of its 18 towers, which were then treated and disinfected.

Disneyland took the towers out of service on November 1 and told the health agency it had performed additional disinfecting and testing. It brought the towers back into service November 5, but two days later, they were taken out of service again,she said.

Health officials subsequently issued an order that the towers remain shut down until they are verified to be free from contamination. The results of the tests will not be known for about two weeks.

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