ATLANTA (FOX 5 Atlanta) - Health officials announced Friday an 11th confirmed case of Legionnaires’ disease in an individual who recently stayed at or visited the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel.
The hotel has been closed since July 14 when the first three cases were reported. The doors will remain closed to guests until at least August 11. Hotel management will use that time to try to trace a possible source and treat areas where Legionnaires’ disease is known to thrive.
Despite not tests have come back verifying the hotel as the source, managers were taking no chances in shutting down operations, a move widely praised by the health community as the best course of action any hospitality business could take in such a situation.
Legionnaires' is a water-borne bacteria and can be contracted through such sources as a pool, hot tub, air conditioner, mist sprayer, or even the water supply itself. The infection can present itself with flu-like symptoms, but unlike the flu, it can be treated with antibiotics.
The Sheraton is one of the five host hotels for Dragon Con, the largest multimedia pop-culture convention in the United States which draws about 80,000 visitors annually to Atlanta’s hotel district. The hotel serves as the registration point for members as well fills up its rooms with guests attending the convention. Both hotel management and Dragon Con officials are hopeful the hotel will be back in time for the big event.
So far, no deaths have been reported.