In light of the five Legionnaires’ disease cases in Scotland linked to compost, 22 brands of compost available in the UK were tested for Legionella; results for 14 varieties came back positive for the potentially deadly bacteria.
Dr. Tara Beattie from the University of Strathclyde Scotland posited the notion that species such as Legionella longbeachae are being discovered in compost due to the UK’s move away from peat-based products. In Europe, peat has traditionally been used in compost, but now there is a movement to sawdust and bark being used instead. Dr. Beattie also said that a large-scale survey would need to be conducted in order to determine if Legionella in compost is as widespread as it appears to be from the preliminary study.
When working with compost and potting mix, it would be prudent to practice good hygiene and safe handling techniques such as using them in well-ventilated areas and washing hands thoroughly after use of these products.
To read more about this story, please visit http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2440183/Dangerous-bacteria-present-compost.html