Sickened in Sheraton Atlanta Hotel outbreak? Call (612) 337-6126

Elliot Olsen is a nationally known Legionnaires lawyer who has regained millions for clients. If you or a family member became ill in this Sheraton Atlanta Hotel outbreak, you might have cause to file a Legionnaires lawsuit. Please call Elliot at (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.

The Sheraton Atlanta Hotel outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease illnesses continues to make headlines as health officials said that there are a “probable” 55 cases to go along with a confirmed 11 cases. Many people, however, are probably wondering: What exactly is Legionnaires’ disease?

In a nutshell, it’s a severe type of bacterial pneumonia that is difficult to diagnose because its symptoms are very similar to other types of pneumonia, as well as influenza (flu). The onset of symptoms generally begin with:

  • coughing
  • fever
  • chills
  • shortness of breath (called dyspnea)
  • muscle aches
  • headaches
  • diarrhea and other gastrointestinal problems (nausea, vomiting, cramps).

After a couple of days, however, symptoms can worsen to include chest pains (called pleurisy or pleuritis) and mental confusion.

Legionnaires’ disease doesn’t spread from person to person. Instead, the bacteria spreads through mist, such as from air-conditioning units for large buildings. People over the age of 50, anyone with a weakened immune system or chronic lung disease, or smokers (current and former) are most at risk.

Hotel outbreak:
In the beginning

Legionnaires’ disease got its name more than 40 years ago, back in 1976. In July of that year, more than 4,000 delegates gathered at the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia for the American Legion Convention. Several days after the conclusion of the four-day event, many attendees reported becoming ill.

By Aug. 2, more than 20 attendees had died, and hundreds who had attended the gathering were experiencing the symptoms mentioned above. When it was all said and done, 182 people had been sickened, and 29 of them died.

It wasn’t until January 1977, however, that the bacterium was identified and isolated and found to be breeding in the cooling tower of the hotel’s air conditioning system. Soon thereafter, the bacterium was given a name (Legionella pneumophila), and the illness became known as “Legionnaires’ disease.”

Hotel outbreak? That's how Legionnaires' disease got its name

The Sheraton Atlanta Legionnaires’ disease outbreak brings to mind the hotel outbreak in Philadelphia that gave the disease its name back in 1976.

Hotel outbreak:
Popular convention host

The Sheraton Atlanta is one of five host hotels for Dragon Con, the largest multimedia pop-culture convention in the United States. The convention draws about 80,000 visitors – 20 times the size of the 1976 American Legion Convention.

The Georgia Ballroom in the Sheraton Atlanta is the primary member registration area for members. Both hotel management and Dragon Con officials are hopeful the hotel will reopen in time for the event.

Dragon Con organizers said they are working with hotel management to “understand the situation, the solutions, and the time frames involved.” Organizers said they are optimistic the hotel will be fully operational by Aug. 29.

Some conferences that took place at the Sheraton Atlanta during June and July, the prime exposure period, include:

  • June 21-23: Ranger Stop & Pop Con
  • June 25-27: National Adoption Conference
  • June 26-July 2: 41st Syn-Lod and the 50th Anniversary of Top Teens of America
  • July 4-6: Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship in America National Conference.

Keep in mind that this is merely a handful of the conferences held at the Sheraton Atlanta during that time.

Hotel outbreak:
Fast-changing timeline

The Sheraton Atlanta outbreak first made headlines on July 15. Since then, however, it has dominated the news. To wit:

  • July 15: The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) confirms three cases connected to the Sheraton Atlanta, and hotel officials announce that they are voluntarily closing the hotel until at least Aug. 11.
  • July 17: Three more cases are identified, increasing the number sickened to six.
  • July 22: The case count grows again as three more illnesses are announced.
  • July 24: The tally reaches double digits as the 10th case is diagnosed.
  • July 26: An 11th case is confirmed.
  • July 30: The DPH announces 55 probable cases connected to the outbreak, but no new confirmed cases.

Free consultation

Elliot Olsen has decades of experience representing people harmed by Legionnaires’ disease. You can contact him for a free consultation by filling out the following form and submitting it: