So far, 11 people in Atlanta, Georgia have contracted Legionnaires’ disease and it appears that all of them stayed at the Sheraton Atlanta.
The hotel is now closed down until at least mid-August, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Georgia Department of Public Health investigators are testing water in the Courtland Street hotel pools, fountains, hot tubs, faucets trying to attempt to find where the disease started, although it is not clear whether the hotel is the source of the outbreak, said Department spokeswoman Nancy Nydam.
The hotel will stay closed until at least Aug. 11 and it could be much longer depending on the test results found by Georgia health investigators.
Initially three guests in the hotel tested positive for the disease, which can cause lung infection. Three more cases of Legionnaires surfaced on Monday and another was discovered on Wednesday. Georgia health officials identified the 11th case on Friday.
People most likely to suffer the greatest harm as a result of Legionnaires are older than 50, have medical conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or diabetes or have a history of smoking.
So far this year, close to 90 confirmed cases of Legionnaires disease have hit the state of Georgia. Last year, in Georgia there were 180 confirmed cases in the state.
CDC officials say a number of factors are contributing to the increase in new cases, including improved testing and an older, more susceptible population.
You cannot contract Legionnaires disease from person to person contact, authorities advise. Instead, bacteria gets into the lungs of those affected after they breathe in mist or another water source, such as lakes or streams, infected with the virus.
Consultants hired by the hotel are working with epidemiologists from the state health department and Fulton County Board of Health.
The CDC says about one in 10 people who get Legionnaires’ disease will eventually die as a result of complications from the disease.