Georgia is currently experiencing the largest outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in state history, and one popular downtown Atlanta hotel is reportedly the source of the outbreak. The Sheraton on Courtland Street plans to reopen after one hotel guest died from contracting Legionnaries' disease after her stay. There have been 12 other confirmed cases and 64 probable cases. The hotel has been voluntarily closed since July 16.
Those who contracted the disease stayed or visited the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel between June 12 and July 15. Guests of the hotel during that time period are urged to seek medical attention immediately.
One individual filed a lawsuit against the hotel after being diagnosed with the disease after his stay. The lawsuit lists the companies that manage the Sheraton (Arden Group and Arepii Sa Hotel) and hotel General Manager Ken Peduzzi as the defendants. The law firm is also representing 40 other clients who stayed at the Sheraton.
When asked about the lawsuit, the hotel claimed that they do not comment on legal matters.
Legionnaire's disease is a potentially deadly pneumonia that can be found in the water system of large buildings. The CDC reports that someone can contract the disease simply by breathing in small droplets of the water that contain the bacteria such as showerheads, faucets or hot tubs.
Symptoms of the lung infection include cough, shortness of breath, high fever, muscle pains, and headaches. If not treated immediately, several additional complications can occur. Germany Green, one of the individuals who contracted the disease, was hospitalized with a fever hitting 104.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
1 in 10 people with Legionnaire's disease die from it. The groups that are most suscepitble are those 50 years old and older, smokers and people with lung and immune diseases.
Hotel management says they have been working with the CDC and the Fulton County Board of Health ahead of reopening.
"A thorough cleaning of the hotel's entire water distribution system has been completed as a precautionary measure, including cleaning, scrubbing and chlorination of all water features," Peduzzi said.
The hotel will reopen on August 16.
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