Disneyland shuts down two cooling towers after visitors experienced Legionnaires' disease

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Disneyland shutdown two cooling towers this week after a small number of visitors to the park were sickened with Legionnaires' disease, park officials told The Hollywood Reporter. One patient, who hadn't visited the park, has died.

In Orange County, 55 cases of the disease have been reported this year. The Anaheim outbreak includes patients between ages 52 to 94.

Disneyland says it learned about the Legionnaires' cases in late October and shut down and disinfected two cooling towers that tested for high levels of the bacteria.

The towers are shut down as they are treated with chemicals that kill this type of bacteria.

The towers are near the New Orleans Square Train Station, more than 100 feet away from parts of the theme park accessible to guests, a Disneyland Resort spokeswoman said Friday, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The health agency had tracked 12 cases of the respiratory disease in the Anaheim area, including the nine cases among Disneyland visitors.

About three weeks ago, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notified county authorities of several cases of the disease among people who had traveled to Orange County in September.

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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.

Legionnaires' can cause severe pneumonia.

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.

On Nov. 3, Disney informed the health agency that routine testing had detected elevated levels of Legionella bacteria in two cooling towers a month earlier.

Legionella pneumophila is the most common cause of infection, and the majority of L. pneumophila infections are caused by serogroup 1.

Nine people have contracted Legionnaire's disease after visiting Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif.

The illness can not be spread by person to person contact. Infected persons often have pneumonia and may need to be hospitalized. It typically strikes the elderly and people with compromised immune systems, and can be fatal, according to the Mayo Clinic.

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