Disneyland water cooling tower causes outbreak of Legionnaires disease
The test carried out by a health care official, showed high levels of Legionella bacteria in two cooling towers which form a part of their air conditioning system.
Cooling towers contain a large amount of water and are potential breeding grounds for Legionella bacteria if they are not properly disinfected and maintained. The key factors for growth include higher temperatures and stagnation.
Controlling the growth of the bacteria can be done using chemicals or by modifying the environmental conditions. As legionnaires disease is contracted through the infected aerosol formation, cooling towers have become one of the most high-profile methods of contracting the disease as mist droplets are created.
The two large towers which covered a radius of 3 miles were shut down immediately and treated. Repeat testing was then carried out early in November where the towers tested negative for the bacteria.
Epidemiologist Dr Matthew Zahn stated: “The contaminated droplets are likely to have spread to people in the park and beyond.”
An engineer from the Department of Industrial Relations testified that Disneyland did not follow proper disinfecting guidelines on the cooling towers, creating a breeding ground for bacteria to grow and spread within the park.
It is important that regular comprehensive Legionella risk assessments are carried out in order to ensure the correct management and maintenance of water-cooling towers and evaporating condensers.
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