ATLANTA, GA – New Details are developing in a lethal and widespread outbreak of Legionnaires Disease in Atlanta, Georgia. A lawsuit that includes about 40 victims has been filed against a hotel that is said to have exposed people to the illness.
Authorities say one person has died and a dozen have tested positive for the bacteria, which can cause a severe form of Pneumonia.
Officials say all of the victims who say there exposed were guests at the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel. They say back on July 15th, 49-year-old Cameo Garrett was already dead, after going to a conference at the Sheraton a week before she died. According to an autopsy, Garrett is the first victim who has been identified and as died from coronary issues and Legionnaires disease.
Another man, Germany Greer, has contracted Legionnaires disease, and he says he could not sleep, did not want to eat, and could not drink anything because everything was horrible and he was delirious due to the lethal illness. He says during a press conference about the lawsuit on Monday, that he could not even remember his name at one point while battling the disease.
Greer’s a 67-year-old photographer. He says he was hired to document the same hotel conference. His fever hit 104.5. And while battling the illness, the Atlanta’s Piedmont Hospital kept him for four days in the intensive care unit.
Doctors say they had two other cases already before Greer showed up at the hospital.
WATCH: Legionnaires Disease Lawsuit Press Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.
Health experts say Legionnaires disease is a severe form of pneumonia. People get sick inhaling microscopic water droplets containing the Legionella bacteria. But the illness is NOT contagious.
According to Dr. William Schaffner with the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, “this is one of those bugs that live out in the environment amongst us, and on occasion, it gets into a man-made water system, contaminates it, and it can be very hard to get rid of when that happens.”
The CDC says 1 in 10 Legionnaire’s victims will die. In a statement, the hotel offered its “deepest sympathies to all those affected”…adding “a thorough cleaning of the hotel’s entire water distribution system has been completed…including…scrubbing and chlorination.”
According to Attorney Chris Stewart,m who represents 40 Sheraton guests with confirmed or presumptive cases of Legionnaires, other guests scattered around the country may have the disease. Attorneys say this a massive nationwide problem, because some people may not know they’re sick yet with Legionnaires Disease. And the potential population of exposed people is in the hundreds?
Health officials are looking into when people may have been exposed. The timeline is said to be the end of June to end of July, spanning almost a month.
The Hotel will remain closed through this week.
For more on the Legionnaires Disease visit: https://www.cdc.gov/legionella/index.html