Sheraton Atlanta reopens after Legionnaires' outbreak

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Health officials said they now know the source of a deadly Legionnaires' disease outbreak at a downtown Atlanta hotel.

Health officials announced Thursday afternoon the cooling tower and a decorative fountain in the atrium of the Sheraton Atlanta both tested positive for the presence of Legionella bacteria.

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The hotel has been closed since July 14, when the first cases were confirmed. Since then, hotel management has done extensive remediation to the entire water distribution system including those two areas.

Health officials said the hotel is good to reopen following Thursday’s inspect, but they will continue to monitor.

According to state health officials, 13 lab-confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease, including one death have been linked to the hotel as 66 probable cases.

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Legionnaires' can cause flu-like symptoms, but unlike influenza, it can be treated with antibiotics. It is mostly found in water supplies and places where there is a heavy presence of moisture.

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.

Earlier this week, a lawsuit was filed against the hotel by one of the alleged patients as a result of the outbreak.

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