Legionnaires’ Disease Outbreak Definitively Tied to Sheraton in Atlanta, Georgia
ATLANTA, GA. – According to an online news story reported at ajc.com, an outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease in Atlanta, Georgia, has been definitively tied to the Sheraton Hotel downtown. The Georgia Department of Public Health confirmed on August 15 that water sources at the hotel had tested positive for bacteria that causes the disease.*
The outbreak began in mid-July, when several people who had stayed at the Sheraton came down with an illness resembling Legionnaires’ disease. Medical tests confirmed the cases were Legionnaires’ and investigators quickly tied the illness back to the hotel. After conducting extensive testing at the hotel, health officials said that they discovered Legionella bacteria in the cooling tower for the hotel and in a fountain in the hotel’s atrium.
The health department indicated that the entire water system at the hotel had been undergoing remediation, and the hotel was cleared for reopening. The hotel voluntarily shuttered its doors after several guests became sick, and it had not reopened before the announcement from the health department. The Fulton County Board of Health inspected and cleared the hotel, but officials say that testing will keep going for some time to ensure the safety of hotel patrons.
Legionnaires’ disease is a serious type of respiratory illness that can be deadly in certain populations or without appropriate medical treatment. Officials in Georgia have confirmed 13 cases of the disease traced back to the hotel, and they suspect that 66 more will be confirmed. Of the confirmed cases, one death has been reported.
A lawsuit has currently been filed against the hotel, alleging that it was negligent in allowing the bacteria to grow in its water unmitigated and make guests ill. It is not clear if a responsive pleading has been filed. A statement from the hotel was not included in the news report.
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