4 Dec 2010

Health warning for gardeners over potting mix and compost

1:55 pm on 4 December 2010

A rise in cases of legionnaires' disease in Canterbury is prompting a health warning for gardeners to be careful with potting mix and compost.

Medical officer of health Ramon Pink says an elderly woman in Christchurch last month died from pneumonia caused by legionnaires' disease.

Dr Pink says there is always a spike in early summer, but this year the number of cases in Canterbury has almost tripled from last year, to 38.

He says anyone who has been in contact with potting mix and is suffering symptoms like coughing, fever, shortness of breath, chest pain, diarrhoea and vomiting, should visit their doctor.

Dr Pink recommends gardeners wear dust masks when using potting mix and wash their hands afterwards.