More SHRM Las Vegas: Legionnaires’ Disease Exposure Found at Aria Hotel

If you attended SHRM’s annual conference in Las Vegas last month, and stayed at the Aria Resort & Casino in the City Center complex on the Strip, you might want to check in with your doctor.

Here’s why, according to a story in the Las Vegas Review-Journal:

Aria officials are notifying patrons who stayed at the hotel from June 21 to July 4 that they might have been exposed to the sometimes-fatal Legionnaires’ bacteria.

Six former patrons of the Aria, people who stayed there between December 2009 and April, have come down with the disease. All have recovered. It wasn’t until all six cases were linked that officials felt the need to test the hotel’s water.

Though the Aria cases stretch back almost to the Dec. 16, 2009, grand opening of the 4,000-room hotel, officials say they need to notify only those guests who stayed during the recent two-week period because of the disease’s incubation period of two to 14 days. So far, none of the notified patrons, nor any hotel employees, has reported contracting the disease, according to the health district’s Jennifer Sizemore.

The notification letter informs people of symptoms and advises them to seek medical attention if they feel ill. The letter also urges anyone who has further questions to contact company representatives at 1-877-326-2742. Alan Feldman, senior vice president of public affairs for MGM Resorts International, declined to say how many letters had been sent out to customers of the hotel.”

The SHRM annual conference was held in Las Vegas from June 26-29, and the Aria was one of the officially designated official conference hotels where SHRM members stayed. In addition, SHRM held a Government Affairs reception at the hotel.

Although there has been no indication that anyone who stayed at the Aria during the SHRM conference has contracted Legionnaires’ Disease, SHRM “thought it was prudent to communicate to members” about it, according to the SHRM media relations staff.

What SHRM is telling its members

That communication came in the following letter was sent by SHRM’s Janet Parker to conference attendees who stayed at the Aria:

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Dear Annual Conference Attendee:

The Society for Human Resource Management was recently informed of an outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease between June 21 and July 4 at the Aria Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The hotel is currently contacting guests who stayed with them during that time. (Read the letter from the Aria Hotel & Casino.)

SHRM’s records indicate that you either attended a reception at the Aria or were among the guests of the hotel during the SHRM Annual Conference and Exposition, June 26-29. Out of concern, the Society wanted you to be aware of the situation.

Las Vegas health officials report that a few guests who visited Aria were diagnosed with, treated for and recovered from Legionnaires’ disease (a form of pneumonia caused by Legionella bacteria).

If you have any concerns or questions, please contact the Aria Hotel & Casino at 1-877-326-ARIA (2742), or the Southern Nevada Health District at (866) 767-5038. They’ve also included information on their website at

Best regards,

Janet N. Parker, SPHR, GPHR

Chief Global Membership Officer, SHRM

Legionnaire’s Disease is not spread from person-to-person. According to the Review-Journal story,

Legionella, the bacterium that causes Legionnaires’ disease, is often found in air-conditioning cooling towers, whirlpool spas, showers, faucets or other water sources. The bacterium can rapidly reproduce in warm, stagnant waters … Doctors must do a specific test to confirm the diagnosis … (and) The disease can be very serious; the CDC reports that it can cause death in 5 percent to 30 percent of cases. Most cases can be treated successfully with antibiotics, and healthy people usually recover from infection.”

Everyone — from Aria management, to the Southern Nevada Health District, to SHRM officials — are going overboard to notify everyone who might have stayed at the Aria or visited the hotel about the potential exposure to Legionnaires’ even though there are no reported cases of the disease from the Aria exposure.

Still, better to be safe than sorry. If you attended SHRM Las Vegas and either stayed at the Aria resort or attended any events there, you should contact your doctor and get some professional medical advice on how you should proceed — just in case.

John Hollon is Editor-at-Large at ERE Media and was the founding Editor of A longtime newspaper, magazine, and business journal editor, John has deep roots in the talent management space. He's the former Editor of Workforce Management magazine and, served as Editor of RecruitingDaily, and was Vice President for Content at HR technology firm Checkster. An award-winning journalist, John has written extensively about HR, talent management, leadership, and smart business practices, including for the popular Fistful of Talent blog. Contact him at, connect with him on LinkedIn, or follow him on Twitter @johnhollon.


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