ATLANTA — The count of probable cases of Legionnaires' disease linked to a possible outbreak at the Sheraton Atlanta has increased by two.
The Georgia Department of Public Health said there are now 57 probable and 11 confirmed cases from individuals who stayed at or visited the hotel during parts of June and July.
In the last update provided Monday by the health department, there was the same number of confirmed cases with 55 probable cases.
Probable cases are defined as instances in which people had an illness consistent with Legionnaires’ disease, including pneumonia diagnosed by a clinician or chest X-ray, but without laboratory confirmation.
Legionnaires' disease is a serious type of pneumonia caused by bacteria known as legionella.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Legionnaires' disease can cause pneumonia symptoms including cough, shortness of breath, muscle aches, headache and fever.
People can catch the disease by inhaling the bacteria in a public place. It can't be passed by skin from person to person.
The hotel voluntarily closed on July 15 and is still closed. There have been no reported deaths due to Legionnaires’ disease among hotel guests.
In the meantime, health officials are collecting samples trying to determine the source of the illness.
DPH said the CDC reports that the number of people with Legionnaires' disease grew by nearly four times from 2000 to 2014. About 6,100 cases of Legionnaires' disease were reported in the US in 2016. In Georgia, 189 cases of Legionnaires’ disease were reported in 2018, and 172 cases in 2017.