Article Lead Image

Cd637/Wikimedia Commons

Disneyland shuts down cooling towers amid outbreak of Legionnaires disease

Nine park-goers have reportedly fallen ill.


Chris Tognotti


Posted on Nov 12, 2017   Updated on May 22, 2021, 11:25 am CDT

The Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, shut down a pair of mist-emitting cooling towers this week amid reports of an outbreak of Legionnaires disease, an uncommon respiratory illness. According to reports, the disease was spread by bacteria on the towers, sickening multiple people.

A dozen people were reportedly affected by the outbreak, nine of whom actually visited the park and three more who simply lived in the Anaheim area. Ten of the people affected were reportedly hospitalized, and one person died as a result of the disease. According to The Los Angeles Times, the person who died was not a Disneyland visitor, and contracted Legionnaires on top of “additional health issues.”

The two contaminated cooling towers are reportedly stationed near the New Orleans Square section of Disneyland, behind the train line that ferries guests from one section of the park to another. New Orleans Square is home to two of the park’s oldest and most venerated rides, Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion, as well as a handful of shops and restaurants.

Some 5,000 Americans per year report falling ill with Legionnaires disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control, and the way it reportedly spread at Disneyland is identified as one of its primary modes of transmission―being breathed in through mist. The disease is not generally contagious from person to person.

People suffering from Legionnaires, according to the CDC, can expect to suffer from the following common symptoms:

  • Cough
  • Headaches
  • High fever
  • Muscle Aches
  • Shortness of breath

The symptoms of Legionnaires usually begin two to 10 days after exposure, and although it’s still a very rare illness in relative terms, it’s reportedly becoming more common in the Orange County area in recent years. According to Reuters, Orange County has seen 55 cases of the disease so far through this calendar year compared to 53 last year, and just 33 two years ago.

Share this article
*First Published: Nov 12, 2017, 12:14 pm CST