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Legionnaires’ disease

Now is a great time to be out in the garden, but it’s also important to take care of yourself when handling potting mix and compost.

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Legionnaires’ disease is a flu-like illness caused by the Legionella bacteria that can live in potting mix and compost. It can lead to severe pneumonia and even death. Garden safely by being Legionnaires’ aware.

Here are six easy things you can do to prevent Legionnaires' disease:

1. Wear a well-fitting disposable face mask. 2. Wear gloves. 3. Open potting mix and compost bags carefully with scissors. 4. Reduce dust by dampening down potting mix or compost. 5. Work in a well ventilated area outside. 6. Wash hands after handling and before removing your mask.

Check out the Safer and Healthier Gardening Booklet or visit the Ministry of Health for further technical information.