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Elliot Olsen is a nationally known Legionnaires lawyer who has regained millions for clients. If you or a family member contracted Legionnaires at the Sheraton Atlanta, you might have cause to file a Legionnaires lawsuit. Please call Elliot at (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.
Health officials said another case of Legionnaires’ disease has been diagnosed in a person who recently stayed at the Sheraton Atlanta hotel, bringing the total number of illnesses to six.
Tests have not come back giving any indication confirming the presence of Legionella, the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease. Hotel management, however, learned of the first two cases last Friday, but did not take any action until a third case was confirmed on Monday.
The six people who have been sickened have only one commonality: They all were guests at the Sheraton Atlanta (165 Courtland Street NE) in late June or early July, and it is believed all were attending the same conference.
The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Fulton County Board of Health (BOH) are working together with hotel officials to determine the source of the Legionella.
“The health and safety of our guests is our greatest priority,” Sheraton Atlanta general manager Ken Peduzzi said in a written statement. “We are working closely with public health officials and outside experts to conduct testing to determine if Legionella is present at the hotel. As a result, out of an abundance of caution, we have made the decision to close the hotel while we await the results.”
The hotel is expected to be closed through July until testing is complete. No other locations are being investigated in the outbreak.
Pool area closed
On advice from DPH epidemiologist Cherie Drenzek, hotel officials immediately closed off the pool area, which is considered the most likely source of Legionella.
“Because they (the guests) were so tightly clustered, we made some immediate control recommendations,” Drenzek told 11Alive.com. “To be cautious, to be conservative – let’s close down those water fixtures so that we’re not posing anyone else to be at risk of Legionella infections.”
450 guests relocated
About 450 guests have been relocated to nearby hotels, and guests with future reservations will be assisted in finding other accommodations.
The DPH is contacting every person who stayed at the Sheraton Atlanta in June and July. Drenzek also issued an alert to health departments in other states to be on the lookout for Legionnaires cases that might have originated at the Sheraton Atlanta.
Busy August for hotel
The Sheraton Atlanta is one of five hotels acting as host for the 33rd annual Dragon Con, the largest convention focusing on science fiction and fantasy, comics, literature, art, music, and film, scheduled for Aug. 29 to Sept. 2. More than 80,000 visitors are expected to pass through the Sheraton Atlanta throughout Labor Day weekend
Dragon Con organizers said they are working with hotel management to “understand the situation, the solutions, and the timeframes involved.” Organizers said they are optimistic the hotel will be fully operational by Aug. 29.
According to the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are an estimated 25,000 cases of Legionnaires’ disease in the U.S. yearly. Only 5,000 cases are reported, however, because of its nonspecific symptoms.
Legionella bacteria are contracted by inhaling microscopic water droplets in the form of mist or vapor. The bacteria thrive in warm water, and they are found primarily in human-made environments, including but not limited to:
- water systems of large buildings (hotels, hospitals, nursing homes, etc.)
- swimming pools, whirlpools, hot tubs
- large plumbing systems
- air-conditioning system cooling towers
- bathroom showers and faucets
- hot-water heaters and tanks.
Warm, stagnant water provides the right conditions for growth of Legionella, which can multiply at temperatures between 68 degrees and 122 degrees Fahrenheit.
The DPH recommends that guests, visitors to, or employees of the Sheraton Atlanta who are feeling pneumonia- or flu-like symptoms should seek care from their health-care provider. Symptoms usually develop two to 10 days after exposure to Legionella, and they frequently begin with:
- muscle aches
- fever, which can be 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher
By Day 2 or Day 3, symptoms can worsen to include:
- coughing, which can bring up mucus or blood
- dyspnea (shortness of breath)
- chest pains (pleurisy, or pleuritic chest pains)
- gastrointestinal symptoms (diarrhea, nausea, vomiting)
- confusion and other mental changes.
Anyone can contract Legionnaires’ disease, but people at the most significant risk of infection include:
- anyone 50 years old or older
- smokers, whether current or former
- anyone with a chronic lung disease, such as COPD (most commonly, bronchitis or emphysema)
- anyone with a compromised immune system
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: