One person has died from the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak at the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health.
Cameo Garrett, one of the 12 lab-confirmed cases of the disease, died of coronary artery atherosclerosis aggravated by Legionella in July, the medical examiner’s office in DeKalb County confirmed to ABC News.
There are now 61 probable cases of Legionnaires' disease among the people who stayed at or visited the Sheraton, the Georgia Department of Public health said in a statement.
The hotel has since closed and will remain closed until at least August 11, according to the general manager of the Sheraton Atlanta, Ken Peduzzi.
“Sheraton Atlanta continues to work closely with public health officials and environmental experts to determine if the hotel is the source of the outbreak,” Peduzzi said. “The health and safety of our employees and guests is our top priority.”
The Georgia Department of Public Health (GDPH) and the Fulton County Board of Health will both oversee safety testing and sampling being conducted by out an outside contractor, according to a GDPH spokesperson.
Legionnaires is a disease that causes severe lung inflammation and is usually caused by infection. It is often contracted by people inhaling the bacteria.
The respiratory disease takes its name from an outbreak at the Pennsylvania American Legion convention held at the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia in July 1976, according to the Associated Press. The bacterium believed to be responsible is found in soil and grows in water, such as air-conditioning ducts, storage tanks and rivers.