Sterling woman recovering from probable Legionnaires' case following outbreak at Atlanta hotel

Published: Aug. 13, 2019 at 10:49 PM CDT
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A Sterling woman is one of dozens of people nationwide who potentially contracted Legionnaires' after traveling to the Sheraton Hotel in Downtown Atlanta.

Margo Jakobs and her husband David were visiting their son the week of July 13, when hotel officials evacuated the building's guests.

Margo says, "We went down to the front desk and they told us we needed to evacuate the hotel and that they sent us an email, but they had not."

Jakobs said they stayed at the Sheraton for two nights before they were re-booked at a nearby hotel.

She says the Sheraton charged them for the five nights they were booked at the location.

At this time, the Jakobs family learned there was a possible Legionella bacteria exposure at the hotel, but she never imagined she would get sick.

After returning from the trip, Margo says she became extremely sick with symptoms like a fever and chills, and just 3 days later developed pneumonia, which she says she is still battling with today.

She says she feels like she has lost the past month due to this illness, but is progressing in her recovery.

Dr. Kelley Guthrie, M.D., who has been treating Jakobs says, "when a patient is exposed to a water source that has been linked back to a legionnaires' bacteria, then it becomes much more probable that they have that disease."

Because of the symptoms exhibited by Jakobs, and her exposure to the bacteria while on their trip, Guthrie has diagnosed her with a probable case of Legionnaires'.

Guthrie says there are tests--some more difficult than others-- to confirm the disease, but in this case they did not feel it was necessary to diagnose via those tests before treating the illness.

Jakobs is one of dozens of probable cases nationwide.

The CDC says 12 cases of Legionnaires' have been confirmed through lab testing, and one of those people, a woman from Georgia, has died.

Jakobs says, "My heart just went out to her family. She had no idea. She went to a hotel with no idea this was even in the water or the air system."

Jakobs will continue her antibiotics treatment and use of a Nebulizer for now, but she is grateful for the support of her family, friends and doctor.

She wants people to know that they aren't going through this alone, and if someone wants to talk about it, she's here.

The CDC says the disease is contracted by breathing in mist or water droplets containing Legionella bacteria. You cannot pass the disease from person to person contact.

For more information on Legionnaires', you can visit their website,

As of August 6, the Associated Press reported that the hotel remained closed.

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