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What is Legionellosis?

It is a form of pneumonia caused by a bacteria called legionella, an environmental organism that lives in moist conditions. You can catch the disease by inhaling airborne droplets or particles containing the bacteria. There has been no reported person- to-person spread of legionellosis. The illness may be mild or severe and can sometimes be fatal. It is more common in older people, particularly if they smoke, have poor immunity or have a chronic illness.

How to reduce the risk of exposure to legionella:

  • minimise the amount of dust when working in the garden
  • water your garden and indoor plants using a gentle spray
  • read the warning on bags of composted potting mixes • wear gloves when handling soil, mulches, compost or potting mix
  • wear a dust mask when opening bags or using potting mix and compost to avoid inhaling dust
  • open bags of soil products or composted potting mixes slowly and away from the face
  • dampen potting mixes before usemake sure the working area (glasshouse, potting shed) is well ventilated.

See your doctor immediately if you develop a flu-like illness that is worsening. For more tips on keeping safe in the garden including information about machinery, pests, stings, poisonous plants and more read Healthier and Safer Gardening from HealthEd.