An outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease linked to a downtown Atlanta hotel has left one person dead and at least a dozen others sickened, state health officials said.
Cameo Garrett, 49, who attended a conference at the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel on June 29, died from coronary artery disease that had been “aggravated by Legionella pneumonia,” WSBTV reported citing a copy of the autopsy report.
Garrett’s father, Al Garrett, told the local station that his daughter suffered from stomach and intestinal problems after attending the conference.
As of Monday, there are 12 lab-confirmed cases of the disease — as well as 61 probable cases — linked to the hotel, a spokeswoman for the state health department told HuffPost.
Those impacted by the disease stayed at or visited the hotel between June 12 and July 15, officials said. The hotel closed in mid-July to address the health concern. It will remain closed until at least August 11, said the hotel’s general manager, Ken Peduzzi.
“Sheraton Atlanta continues to work closely with public health officials and environmental experts to determine if the hotel is the source of the Legionella outbreak,” Peduzzi said in a statement obtained by HuffPost.
Legionnaires’ disease is a serious type of lung infection that’s caused by Legionella bacteria, which occurs naturally in the environment.
It can be contracted by accidentally swallowing water into the lungs (or breathing in small droplets of water) that contains Legionella, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Its symptoms, including fever, chills, cough and shortness of breath, usually begin two to 10 days after exposure. About one in 10 people sickened from Legionnaires’ disease will die, according to the CDC.