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In New Zealand, a recently issued report for the Health Ministry revealed an apparent rise in cases of Legionnaires’ disease in the country.  Between 2009 and 2010, the number of cases reported jumped 141%.  What’s more, the numbers continue to swell this year, with 89 cases reported in 2011 so far, compared with 63 at this time last year.  Health officials are scratching their heads over such a dramatic increase of occurrences of the disease.  Government scientists have been unable to determine a definite reason behind the jump, though they point to potting mix and compost as potential harbors of the legionella bacteria; according to New Zealand’s Public Health Service, 80% of Legionnaires’ disease patients in 2010 had come in contact with compost or potting mix prior to their illness, though the bacteria have proven evasive during testing of the matter.  New Zealanders who regularly handle compost or potting mix are being advised to wear face masks while working to reduce their chances of inhaling aerosolized bacteria, and New Zealand’s Health Ministry has promised that updated guidelines for legionella control will appear in the upcoming months.

Posted by jzacher">jzacher at 2:16 pm

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