The risk of picking up a Legionella infection from compost is rare, points out Simon Patten, a physician specializing in internal medicine at Royal Alexandria Hospital in Paisley, Scotland. Just nine instances have turned up in the United Kingdom within the past 26 years.
However, handling in compost with bare hands and no gloves is not a desirable thing.
Unfortunately, data are showing that this soil amendment can host a germ responsible for Legionnaire’s disease, a potentially serious form of pneumonia.
A niggling question is why compost has emerged as a risk factor for L. longbeachea. Dirt can host the germ, but usually in low concentrations, Patten says. He suspects that something about the nature of compost — its moisture levels, nutrient richness or something else — might just prove especially conducive to fostering growth of this microbe.
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