Sheraton Atlanta Hotel, Linked to Legionnaires Disease Outbreak
The four-star hotel, Sheraton Atlanta, located in the heart of Atlanta Georgia, was temporarily closed due to an outbreak of Legionnaires disease. One woman, 49 years old, has died. The woman, having stayed at the downtown hotel in late June, became ill after her stay and lab tests confirmed her connection to the disease that impacts roughly 5000 people annually. Of those exposed to the illness roughly 10 percent will die. And, according to the DeKalb County Medical Examiner’s Office, the woman found dead in her home on July 9th died of coronary heart disease made more serious by the addition of pneumonia. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), people with Legionnaires Disease have developed pneumonia, the lung disease, and is often much more problematic in people with compromised immune systems, older people, or people with lung issues- including smokers and former smokers.
In addition to one death, there are eleven other lab-confirmed cases and more than sixty odds-on cases. The more than sixty individuals likely having Legionnaires are symptomatic but have not been lab-tested. The hotel, boasting that its guests will find peaceful tranquility during their stay, was agreeable to closing their doors for the investigation. It can be difficult to identify the source of the Legionella bacteria, especially in a man-made building with many water sources. And, finding the source of the infected water in a 760-plus room hotel, such as the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel, can be especially difficult. Health officials are asking guests of the hotel who stayed there mid-June to mid-July to help in the investigation. Former guests are being asked to complete a questionnaire which will help identify similar activities both at the hotel and in surrounding downtown area. Similar behaviors and activities can help authorities in narrowing their search.
Legionnaires Disease occurs when the Legionella bacteria is present in a water source and is inhaled by a person. Typically found around bodies of water, the bacteria can also be present in water systems in a hotel or other building. Water features such as fountains or ponds, or hot tubs and pools and even the water in the shower and toilet in hotel rooms can contain the bacteria. It takes only a tiny droplet of water containing the bacteria being inhaled, or breathed in, by an individual to make someone ill. The Legionella bacteria causes pneumonia as well as headaches, muscle aches, cough, shortness of breath and fever. Running a sample of phlegm through lab testing can confirm the disease. Anti-biotics are the usual course of action.
The Sheraton Atlanta closed its doors on July 15 and were set to open August 11th or when the source is determined procedures taken to fix the issue. According to health officials it is extremely important for building maintenance for buildings such as hotels keep up on water system safety. Water should be kept at proper temperatures, tested frequently, not able to stagnate, and areas of concern – where Legionnaires bacteria could grow- be maintained and disinfected. Anyone concerned about exposure to this bacteria should seek medical care immediately.
https://www.foxnews.com/health/legionnaires-disease-outbreak-atlanta-hotel-1-dead https://www.cdc.gov/legionella/about/signs-symptoms.html https://www.washingtonpost.com/travel/2019/08/07/outbreak-investigation-underway-after-atlanta-sheraton-hotel-guest-dies-others-sickened-by-legionnaires-disease/