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Legionnaires' Outbreak Closes Atlanta Hotel



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Investigators gather at a hotel in downtown Atlanta on Tuesday to try out water from bushes, fountains, hot tubs and facets to find out the cause of potentially deadly legion disease.

Sheraton Atlanta on Courtland Street closed on Monday after three recent visitors to the hotel were positive for the disease, which is a serious lung infection. On Tuesday, the Georgia Public Health Service reported two patients were positive.

Legionnaires' disease is caused by Legionella, which is found naturally in freshwater environments such as lakes and rivers, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. But the agency says it can be a health problem if it spreads as it grows in a man-made building water system.

Air conditioners and mist sprayers at grocery stores are also the main breeding ground for bacteria. It can also grow in fountains and ice machines.

Legionnaires' disease can not be caught by human contact. Instead, most people are breathing with fog or steam, and bacteria are sick when they enter the lungs.

Andrea Braunstein, CEO of Sheraton Atlanta, said the hotel will take at least two weeks to test and will probably take longer. If legionella is positive at the hotel's water source, it will take several weeks to heal.

Related: What is Legionnaire? FAQ on severe forms of pneumonia

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Sheraton Atlanta voluntarily closed and Georgia Health Department spokesman Nancy Nydam said.

"Your health and safety is our top priority," general manager Ken Peduzzi said in a statement. "We work closely with public health officials and outside experts to test whether Legionella is in the hotel. As a result, we decided to close the hotel in many states while waiting for results."

Nydam said tests on Legionella bacteria at a hotel on Tuesday typically start with the pools, hot tubs and fountains, which are typically the killer of bacteria. She said the water survey system could be extended to the hotel's water system, including the piping system.

The investigating team will help you find contaminated sources by finding clues such as whether all sick guests were on the same floor.

Until the inspection is complete, health officials say the hotel can not be sure it is the cause of the outbreak. However, in other areas, Legionella is not examined.

All five of the Legionnaires and others who are sick are considered to have attended the same conference in Sheraton Atlanta.

Nydam said epidemiologists are staying at the hotel and approaching people who can experience symptoms of respiratory illness. These symptoms include cough, fever and muscle aches. Coronary disease can also be associated with other symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea and chaos. Symptoms usually start 2-10 days after exposure to the bacteria, but may take longer. People should observe their symptoms for about two weeks after exposure.

According to the health authorities this year, there are about 90 cases of military tribunals settled in Georgia. The number of cases confirmed last year was 180, and nine cases were suspected in the state.

Nydam said guests staying at the hotel from June 12 to July 15 should contact their health care provider if they are suffering from respiratory illness.

Sheraton moved about 450 nearby hotels on Monday. Peduzzi said his staff is helping guests with upcoming appointments find other amenities. Affected people can also call the Marriott (the parent company of Sheraton) at 1-888-236-2427 and the reservations staff can help with rebooking. Guests whose reservation is canceled will receive a full refund.

The main events are dragon cones in late August and early September. The hotel was one of the 5 host hotels for the event.

Meanwhile, CDC has been informed of local cases of the disease management center (Legalnaires & # 39; disease). State and local health authorities have jurisdiction over the outbreak in the state. You can ask the CDC to investigate when you need additional expertise, competence or resources. On Tuesday evening, the agency was not asked for help.

About one in ten deaths from sexually transmitted diseases died from complications of the disease, the CDC said. Since the immune system has already been damaged, one in four people who die of the disease die during their stay at the medical facility.

The disease has gained its name since its inception in 1976 at the American Legion Convention in Philadelphia. Of the more than 2,000 members attending the convention, 182 died of severe atypical pneumonia and 29 died.