One person has died of Legionnaires’ disease after an outbreak at a hotel in Atlanta.
What We Know:
- Black News Alerts reported that three guests at the Sheraton Atlanta hotel contracted Legionnaires’ disease earlier this month. Following this news, the Sheraton closed to conduct an investigation with the Fulton County Board of Health. Just days later three more guests reported they had contracted the disease, and the hotel announced the hotel would remain closed at least through August 11.
- Now, the count is up to 12 diagnosed cases of Legionnaires’ disease originating at the hotel, one fatality, and 61 other probable cases identified or people who have symptoms of the disease but have not yet confirmed their diagnoses. The infection originated in the hotel as early as July, as some diagnosed guests had experienced lung problems after attending a convention at the hotel in early July.
- Legionnaires’ disease is a rare and serious bacteria-caused pneumonia with a death rate of 1 in 10. Only about 7,000 cases were reported last year in the US, 189 of them in Georgia. The disease is a “severe, often lethal, form of pneumonia” that leaves patients feeling tired and weak, with a laundry list of symptoms like vomiting and shortness of breath. The period after infection but before symptoms arise can be up to ten days, making it easy to spread within these first days.
- The source of the outbreak has not yet been identified, but it is thought to only affect guests who stayed in the hotel between June 12 and July 15. The disease grows best in warm water, making hotel amenities like showerheads, hot tubs, hot water tanks and fountains a perfect breeding ground. The Georgia Department of Public Health released a statement urging any guests of the hotel between these dates to seek medical attention and detailed the outbreak.
The state has created an online survey for those who stayed or visited the hotel during the month in question to help aid with their investigation, which will include lab analysis of bodies of water on the hotel grounds.