Legionnaires Disease: The Happiest Place On Earth

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What’s something your house, a nuclear power plant and Disneyland all probably have in common? A cooling system. Homes, Disneyland and nuclear power plants all have systems in place to lower temperatures, albeit to varying degrees of sophistication. They serve an important purpose—particularly in warmer cliamtes—but what many people don’t realize is they can also become contaminated by bacteria, putting people’s health and even lives at risk.
A poignant example made headlines this month when an outbreak of legionnaires’ disease infected Disneyland visitors in Anaheim, California. The Happiest Place on Earth had to shut down two cooling towers after twelve people contacted the illness, nine of which had visited the park in September, according to the Los Angeles Times. The other cases were people who lived or traveled in Anaheim. In total, 10 people were hospitalized and one person who had not visited Disneyland died.
Legionnaires’ disease, a serious type of pneumonia, is typically contracted by breathing in small droplets of water in the air that contain the bacteria Legionella, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains. Legionella occurs naturally in fresh water sources but becomes an issue in man-made
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A number of the individuals who stayed at the Sleep Inn & Suites in Prattville-Millbrook, including several who were part of a girls’ softball team, became ill and tested positive for legionnaires’ disease. At the time the suit was filed in 2014, Beasley Allen attorney Ben Locklar, who handled the case, said, “Guests expect a reasonable amount of care to be taken in regards to health and safety. It is clear that the hotel’s water system and cooling system have not been properly maintained and that the infected were unknowingly exposed to bacteria-laden water, mist and air at the hotel.” The case settled earlier this year for an undisclosed
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