Hotel visitor contracts Legionnaires' and dies

Henrietta Strickland
August 8, 2019

Legionella pneumophila, a bacterium, is usually the cause of the illness.

One person has died from a Legionnaires' disease outbreak at the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel.

"You may recall she attended a function at the hotel where several guests have been diagnosed with Legionnaires'", Jones continued. Another 61 cases are classified as "probable", meaning they have confirmed symptoms of the disease and pneumonia but not a lab test.

"Sheraton Atlanta continues to work closely with public health officials and environmental experts to determine if the hotel is the source of the Legionella outbreak", he said.

The Sheraton Atlanta enacted a voluntary closure on July 15, the NYT reported, and will stay as such "until at least August 11", the hotel's general manager, Ken Peduzzi, told Channel 2 Action News in a statement.

The Georgia Department of Public Health (GDPH) and the Fulton County Board of Health will both oversee safety testing and sampling being conducted by out an outside contractor, according to a GDPH spokesperson.

Health officials say they are now scrambling to investigate and fix the issue to prevent further fatalities. The disease infects up to 18,000 people in the United States annually.

"Legionnaires" disease is a "severe form of pneumonia, '" according to the Mayo Clinic, which explains pneumonia as an inflammation of the lung that is typically caused by an infection. About 5,000 cases are reported a year, the agency says, with most outbreaks occurring in hotels, hospitals and long-term care facilities. "Instead, most people get Legionnaires' disease from inhaling the bacteria", the Mayo Clinic states, noting that older adults, those who smoke, or those with "weakened immune systems" are the most susceptible. Figuring out the source of an outbreak can be complicated.

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