Gardners need to take care with composts and potting mixes.
Legionellosis or Legionnaire’s disease is caused by common Legionella bacteria, which live in the environment.Compost, potting mix and garden soils often contain the bacteria. Infection can occur when dust or small water droplets are inhaled from the compost and potting mix.
Medical Officer of Health Annette Nesdale says “Gardeners can take simple steps when using compost and potting mixes, to reduce the risk of Legionnaires disease. For example:
- Open potting mix and compost bags carefully with scissors, rather than ripping the bag open.
- Wear a disposable face mask and gloves when working with potting mix and/or compost, and avoid putting your hands near your face.
- Thoroughly wash hands after working with soil, potting mix or compost.
- Water the garden and potted plants using a gentle spray, if gardening in glasshouses ensure they are well ventilated, ensure your hot water cylinder is set to at least 60˚C.
Further information on Legionnaires disease can be found here.