In response to the death of a woman in Sydney, NSW Health has issued an urgent warning to people who use a potting mix product.
It’s believed that the woman contracted the disease after she inhaled the bacteria while gardening.
She was rushed to the hospital, but she later died from the illness. Health officials are urging people to avoid getting sick by wearing a mask or gloves when handling soil or composts contaminated with the bacteria, known as Legionella longbeachae.
Jeremy McAnulty, the NSW Health executive director, said that the disease could affect older people who have a weak immune system or are smokers.
Although most people who contract the bacteria do not become ill, the risk of infection increases if they’re older or have a weakened immune system.
To prevent the spread of the bacteria, it’s important that people thoroughly clean their hands before using a potting mix. They should also wash their hands after drinking or eating.
The disease can cause inflammation of the lungs and symptoms such as coughing and fever.
The symptoms of the disease can appear up to 10 days after being exposed to the bacteria, which can be found in soil and potting mix.
It can also multiply in various products, such as bags of mulch and other garden accessories.
Dr. McAnulty advised people to wear a mask or gardening gloves when handling the contents of a bag of potting mix.
Another type of bacteria commonly found in large buildings and cooling systems is known to cause the disease.
NSW Health is urging people with ongoing symptoms to seek medical attention.