health authorities After a surge in cases of Legionnaires’ disease detected across the country, an urgent alert was issued to gardeners using potting mix.
The National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS) reported 660 cases of dangerous illness detected in the past year through October 16, with the majority occurring in New South Wales and Queensland. .
This is an increase of over 200 from a five-year average of 457 cases of the disease, also known as Legionnaires’ disease.
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Over the weekend, NSW Health issued a warning after a Sydney woman believed to be in her 60s died from the disease.
We know she used potting mix before she got sick.
The Legionella longbeachae bacterium is commonly found in potting mixtures and can cause the lung infection Legionellosis if someone inhales the dust from contaminated soil.
New South Wales Health Commissioner Dr Jeremy McAnulty said gardeners can take simple precautions to ensure their safety when gardening.
“Most people don’t get sick from inhaling bacteria, but if you’re older, smoke, or have a weakened immune system, you’re at increased risk of infection,” says McAnulty.
“Wetting the potting mix first also prevents contaminated potting mix dust from being airborne and inhaled.
“Even with gloves on, bacteria can still be there, so wash your hands thoroughly with soap before eating or drinking.”
A potentially deadly bacterium known as Legionella, Can be grown in bagged potting mixes, mulch, and other soil products.
To minimize risk, health experts advise people to always read and follow the manufacturer’s warnings on the outside of the bag.
“Before opening a bag of potting mix and handling the contents, wear a face mask and wear gardening gloves,” McAnulty said.
Legionnaires’ disease is most common among middle-aged and older people, especially those who smoke or have chronic lung disease.
People who develop the disease can become seriously ill with pneumonia, but most people usually recover with antibiotic treatment in the hospital.
However, it can be fatal for some people.
Symptoms of Legionellosis
Symptoms are similar to other types of pneumonia, such as:
- difficulty breathing
- muscle pain
it can also with other symptoms Diarrhea, nausea, confusion, etc.
Symptoms usually appear 2 to 10 days after being infected with the bacteria, but it can take longer.
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