If you’re planning to revel in some gardening this weekend, be sure to wash your hands after. New research finds that activities involving exposure to compost may increase a person’s risk of Legionnaires’ disease.
Legionnaires’ disease is a form of pneumonia most commonly caused by the bacterium Legionella pneumophila, which is found in lakes, streams, and other freshwater terrains.
Legionnaires’ disease is contracted when people inhale small water droplets contaminated with L. pneumophila. This may occur through showering using a water system in which the bacterium has grown and multiplied, for example.
While the majority of people do not become ill from Legionella bacteria, there are some groups that are more susceptible. These include older adults, smokers, and people with a chronic lung disease.
One lesser known cause of Legionnaires’ disease is a bacterium called Legionella longbeachae.
First isolated in 1980 from a patient in Long Beach, CA, L. longbeachae is found in compost and potting soil. Studies have suggested that inhalation and ingestion of…