ATLANTA, GA – Eleven former guests of the prominent Sheraton Hotel in Atlanta have now been diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease after coming into contact with the bacteria on hotel facilities. According to officials, an additional 55 probable cases have been linked to the same outbreak.
Nancy Nydam, communications director at the Georgia Department of Public Health states that based on the epidemiological evidence, the outbreak has been linked to a convention at the hotel that the guests attended a few weeks prior to being diagnosed with Legionnaires’
Legionnaires’ disease is a serious form of pneumonia contracted by exposure to small water droplets contaminated by the Legionella bacteria. The disease is not contagious but can grow and multiply in a building’s water system. Individuals then come into contact with the bacteria when they breath in water droplets contaminated by the Legionella bacteria. An estimated 10,000 to 18,000 people in the United States are infected by the disease each year. Individuals that are at a higher risk of contracting Legionnaires’ include: senior citizens, tobacco smokers, and individuals with respiratory diseases.
The Atlanta hotel has brought in outside experts to test the hotel’s water system for Legionella, the bacteria responsible for Legionnaires’ disease. So far, the presence of the bacteria has not been confirmed. The Georgia State Health Department, along with the Fulton County Board of Health and environmental specialists are working with the hotel to test for the bacteria. The hotel voluntarily closed of July 15 and are waiting on results from testing. More than 400 guests have been relocated to nearby hotels.
In order to prevent the spread of the Legionella bacteria, building water systems need to be tested and monitored in order to reduce the risk of Legionella growth. Legionella compliance is a critical concern for facilities and their owners. For more information about protecting your facility with Legionella Compliance Solutions, contact LCS NYC today!