Downtown Atlanta hotel closed after 3 cases of Legionnaires' disease

ATLANTA — The Georgia Department of Health is investigating three confirmed cases of Legionnaires' disease that may have come from a downtown Atlanta hotel.

Channel 2 Action News has learned the Sheraton Hotel has been closed until further notice.

A number of guests complained about lung problems after a convention a couple of weeks ago.

"It's concerning. No one wants to go on vacation and come back sick," said Marilyn Wilson, who made her reservations at the hotel months ago for her family reunion.

Legionnaires' disease is a type of lung infection that is caused by bacteria living in warm water. You get it by breathing in affected water droplets and there are many ways to be exposed.

The Sheraton released this statement Monday night:

"The health and safety of our guests is our greatest priority. We are working closely with public health officials and outside experts to conduct testing to determine if Legionella is present at the hotel. As a result, out of an abundance of caution we have made the decision to close the hotel while we await the results.  The Sheraton Atlanta is currently working to relocate its guests to nearby hotels. It is also reaching out to guests with upcoming reservations to assist in directing them to other nearby hotels. Guests whose reservations have been canceled will receive a full refund. " - Ken Peduzzi, General Manager, Sheraton Atlanta


James Francey is one of more than 400 people who had to relocate from the hotel.

“This a hazard of travel. I travel a lot for my so OK it happens. The CDC is here in town, so that's great,’ he said.

Guest Marilyn Wilson just wants her family sleeping somewhere safe.

“Safety first, inconvenience later ... we would like to be here and have everything go as planned, but the most important thing is everyone’s health,” she said.

Channel 2 anchor Lori Wilson spoke to state epidemiologist Cherie Drenzek to ask about the state investigation.

“Shower heads, hot tubs, perhaps even some outbreaks in the past have been associated with decorative fountains,” Drenzek said.

The state is working with the Fulton County Board of Health, the hotel and environmental specialists.

“They have a beautiful swimming pool and it's shut down right now. They say they're working on the filtration system. Maybe they haven't made the linkage,” Drenzek said.