UPDATE (8/7/19): A woman has died of Legionnaires’ disease after attending an event at the Atlanta Sheraton Hotel. Officials have lab-confirmation of 12 cases of Legionnaires’ disease in the outbreak, with 61 “probable” cases based on symptoms.
There are 12 laboratory-confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease in the outbreak, according to an update from the Georgia Department of Public Health on July 31.
Another 61 people are “probable cases,” which means they were diagnosed with pneumonia or have had a chest X-ray that shows symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease, but laboratory tests have not yet confirmed that they are infected with Legionella bacteria.
The Sheraton Atlanta Hotel closed on July 15 and will remain closed until at least August 11 while officials test the building’s water system for contamination with Legionella bacteria.
Legionella is found naturally in streams and lakes, but it becomes a health concern when it starts growing in man-made water systems in buildings. Investigators will likely test the hotel’s pools, hot tubs, water fountains, plumbing system, air conditioning system, and other water sources where Legionella could be growing.
People become infected with the bacteria after breathing it in on tiny droplets of water in the air. Legionnaires’ disease causes a lung infection (pneumonia) that is potentially fatal, according to the CDC.
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