One woman has died and there are 12 laboratory-confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease, out of 61 probable cases of Legionnaires’ disease related to the outbreak at the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel between June 12 and July 15, according to a outbreak investigation from the Georgia Department of Public Health.
The “probable cases” are people who had an illness with symptoms that are consistent with Legionnaires’ disease, such as pneumonia diagnosed by a physician or chest X-ray, but without lab confirmation.
The hotel voluntarily closed on July 15, and will remain closed until at least August 11.
A spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Public Health said that investigators who are testing the hotel for Legionella bacteria typically check pools, hot tubs, water fountains, and plumbing system.
Legionella bacteria naturally occur in lakes and streams, but it becomes a health concern when it grows in building water systems.
People become infected with Legionnaires’ disease by breathing in tiny droplets of water in the air that contain Legionella bacteria.