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A Dunedin man has died from Legionnaires Disease, which he is believed to have contracted from compost.
The man was in good health, but days after placing a load of compost in his glasshouse started to develop flu-like symptoms.
Legionnaires, also known as legionellosis, is a type of pneumonia caused by bacteria commonly found living in potting mix, soils and compost.
The man visited his GP and was admitted to hospital, where his condition gradually deteriorated.
He died within a week of onset of the disease, Southern District Health Board medical officer of health Dr Anura Jayasinghe said.
With the weather improving and people looking to get back out into their gardens, the man's death was a timely reminder of the potential danger of Legionnaires Disease, Dr Jayasinghe said.
"People should watch out for signs of legionellosis as early treatment is usually effective,'' he said.
"Early symptoms can appear 2-10 days after exposure and are similar to the flu.''
The infection can cause a cough, shortness of breath, high fever, muscle pains, headaches, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea.
Anyone handling potting mix, soils or compost should wear a good quality mask, wear gloves to protect against skin infections, open bags in a well ventilated space, and wash their hands thoroughly after finishing work, Dr Jayasinghe said.
- For more, see tomorrow's Otago Daily Times