Atlanta dealing with its largest Legionnaire’s disease outbreak – what makes it so dangerous?

Health News

(CNN) – The city of Atlanta is grappling with the largest outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease in the city’s history.

11 confirmed cases, 63 probable cases and one death have been linked to a Sheraton hotel in the city.

The first lawsuit on behalf of those who have contracted it while staying there.

But what is Legionnaire’s and what makes it so dangerous?

Legionnaire’s disease is a serious type of pneumonia caused by the legionella bacteria.

According to the Georgia department of public health, it’s a bacteria, typically found in warm fresh water – like hot tubs, hot water tanks, and decorative fountains. It can also be found in shower heads and plumbing systems in large buildings.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the bacteria rarely causes illness in natural water sources. But when it grows in a man-made setting, it can become dangerous.

Water droplets containing legionella get into the air and people breathe it in.

Symptoms of general pneumonia like coughing, muscle aches, fever, shortness of breath, and headaches can occur.

It can typically be treated with antibiotics. But people over the age of 50, those with COPD, past or current smokers, or those with a weakened immune system are at a greater risk.

According to the CDC, about one in 10 people infected with legionnaire’s dies.

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