Woman dies from Legionnaires’ disease after visiting Atlanta hotel

ATLANTA (WGCL/CNN) - An outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease has claimed its first victim.

Cameo Garrett was a member of several organizations in Atlanta. One of those organizations led her to the Sheraton.

A 49-year-old woman has died after recently attending a conference at the Atlanta Sheraton hotel.

Cameo Garrett was a member of several organizations. One of those organizations led her to the Sheraton.

In late June, she attended a Top Ladies of Distinction Conference at the hotel.

Her father later reported several days after that conference, on July 4, Garrett complained of stomach pains.

On July 9, her father drove from Augusta to Garrett’s home in DeKalb County to check on her. He found her dead in the home.

The DeKalb county medical examiners office released Garrett’s autopsy report, which lists Garrett’s cause of death as coronary artery atherosclerosis aggravated by legionella pneumonia.

Garrett is one of a number of people believed to have contracted the disease at the hotel.

Sheraton Atlanta sent a statement that reads in part, “Sheraton Atlanta continues to work closely with public health officials and environmental experts to determine if the hotel is the source of the Legionella outbreak. Testing of the property happened last week, and the hotel has voluntarily moved ahead with precautionary remedial activities while awaiting results.”

The hotel will remain closed until at least Sunday.

Garrett was one of 12 confirmed cases of the disease.

The state health department said the number of probable Legionnaires’ cases in Georgia is 61.

According to the state health department, Legionnaires’ is a very serious type of pneumonia caused by Legionella bacteria. People contract the disease when they breathe in small droplets of water in the air that contain the bacteria.

Symptoms can include fever, chills, cough and shortness of breath.

Most people who get sick make a full recovery, and most healthy people exposed to the bacteria do not get sick, the state health department said. Those at increased risk of sickness are 50 years or older, current or former smokers, people with chronic lung disease or weak immune systems.

Copyright 2019 WGCL via CNN. All rights reserved. Gray Television Group contributed to this report.