The legionnaires' disease outbreak in Atlanta was first reported in July, linked to a Sheraton hotel in the downtown area
One woman is dead following a suspected legionnaires’ disease outbreak in an Atlanta hotel.
Cameo Garrett — who visited the Sheraton Atlanta in the city’s downtown area in late June — died the following month after contracting the disease, WSB-TV Atlanta’s Channel 2 Action News confirmed Tuesday via the Georgia Department of Public Health.
“The Medical Examiner in DeKalb County has confirmed Cameo Garrett died as a result of Coronary Artery Atherosclerosis aggravated by Legionella Pneumonia,” Channel 2 Action News reporter Tom Jones tweeted on Tuesday, sharing a photo of Garrett wearing an emerald-colored dress.
“You may recall she attended a function at the hotel where several guests have been diagnosed with Legionnaires’,” Jones continued.
Legionnaires’ disease is a potentially deadly type of pneumonia that comes from the legionella bacteria. The condition does not spread from person to person — rather, people contract legionnaires’ from breathing in the bacteria, often from mist and the water dripping from air-conditioning units.
The Atlanta outbreak was first liked to the Sheraton in July. The New York Times reported 11 confirmed cases of the disease via the Georgia DPH at the time as well as 55 “probable” cases, with many patients having been admitted to the hospital but no confirmed deaths at the time.
According to Channel 2 Action News, the total number of confirmed cases as of Tuesday was 12, while the “probable” number sat at 61.
Jones spoke with Cameo’s father Al Garrett about his daughter last month, when he told the reporter, “She said she was having stomach problems and intestinal problems.” (Cameo was found dead at her home on July 9, after having attended a conference at the hotel 10 days previously.)
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The Sheraton Atlanta enacted a voluntary closure on July 15, the NYT reported, and will stay as such “until at least August 11,” the hotel’s general manager, Ken Peduzzi, told Channel 2 Action News in a statement.
“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. “Testing of the property happened last week, and the hotel has voluntarily moved ahead with precautionary remedial activities while awaiting results. The health and safety of our employees and guests is our top priority.”
The Atlanta outbreak comes almost a year after one person died and 11 others contracted legionnaires’ disease as it spread across the New Hampshire beach town of Hampton last summer.
In fall 2017, a legionnaires’ outbreak in the Anaheim, California, area left one person dead and 21 sick after people who visited Disneyland contracted the disease — the cause of which was reported at the time to “likely” be a specific cooling tower.