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DANGER: Environmental Organic, Gardening with Mulching Composting Can Kill You! While enviro friendly web articles pitches you on organic gardening they forget to tell you about the dangers of going organic.  Why? The words “Organic Gardening” pulls viewers to make money off their Internet Ads.  This page is to give references to sue some of those Organic Gardening web pages if you loose a loved one to Environmentally Friendly Organic Gardening with mulch and composting. Mulch contains a multitude of fungus, and bacteria. Mulching & Composting is a lot like cooking, but our unfriendly brain dead environmental recyclers forget to tell you is some of the micro- organisms developing in the pile can be deadly to humans.   I should know they almost got me!  Rod Cook your editor >  My battle with Pneumonia!

1.LEGIONELLA LONGEACHAE (a deadly sister of Legionnaires Disease) can be found in compost, potting mixes, compost heaps and composted animal manures. It’s not transmitted from animals.  Research in UK and Australia show it can be spread by inhaling dust from contaminated compost/mulch.  It generally infects the lungs, causing pneumonia. Symptoms include fever, coughing, breathlessness, and chest pain People of any age may be infected.  The U.S. Center for Disease Control’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report stated, "During 1990-1999, 37 cases of [L.] longbeachae were reported to CDC's Legionella reporting system. It is likely that legionellosis is underreported to CDC," they write. (wow what an understatement see all the cases below OVER  100 DEATHS)

2.ASPERGILLUS gardeners have been warned about a mould, called Aspergillus, that grows on compost  following the death of a middle-aged man after the case was published in The Medical journal The Lancet.  The Lancet  reported that the man, aged 47, died despite hospital anti-fungal treatment. He developed severe breathing problems after working with plant mulch in his garden.  He died. (see other cases below with deaths)

3.ACUTE MELIOIDOSIS: Acute Melioidosis: the mean incubation period of acute Melioidosis was 9 days Patients with latent Melioidosis may be symptom free for decades; the longest period between presumed exposure and clinical presentation is 62 years.[21] The potential for prolonged incubation was recognized in US servicemen involved in the Vietnam War, and was referred to as the "Vietnamese time-bomb".  (see other cases below)

CAUTION:  For Protection when mulching  or composting use a minimum specification an N95 facemask (a gas mask not a dirt mask).  Don't used grass clippings that contain pesticide or herbicide residue.  They tell you to add water and  fluff to add air to your compost/mulch mix – ARE YOU NUTS?  FLUFF TO BREATHE BACTERIA AND FUNGUS!   They then say, “ leave it to the microorganisms which will break down the material over time (ARE YOU NUTS!).   READ THIS: 170 degrees, the microbes are killed off (MAYBE – BUT DO YOU WANT TO BET YOUR LIFE), but a biochemical reaction takes over that can eventually result in flames (OH GREAT FIRST BACTERIA AND FUNGUS NOW FIRE ! )


Other Danger = BLASTOMYCOSIS: B. dermatitidis,  an uncommon but serious infection is blastomycosis. The fungus grows in moist, acidic soils with high organic material. Wisconsin is “endemic” for blastomycosis. Ten counties with the highest rates of the disease (2000-2006) as: Menominee, Lincoln, Vilas, Forest, Oneida, Sawyer, Iron, Washburn, Shawano and Marathon.

(a deadly Brand of Legionnaires Disease)

ATLANTA, Sep 01 (Reuters Health) - The acquisition of legionellosis, involving Legionella longbeachae rather than L. pneumophila, from contaminated potting soil has been reported for the first time in the United States.
In May and June of this year, residents of three states (California, Oregon, and Washington) were diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease and in two cases, potting soil handled by the patients tested positive for L. longbeachae. The third patient had also been handling potting soil, but it could not be tested.

"This association between Legionnaire's disease and potting soil had been previously reported in Australia and Japan but this is the first time we have recognized it in the United States," said Dr. Michael Martin, officer with the Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer for the Centers for Disease Control's National Center for Infectious Disease in an interview with Reuters Health.

"[L.] pneumophila serogroup 1 accounts for most legionellosis cases in the United States; L. longbeachae is reported less frequently," according to the authors of the report in the September 1st issue of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. "During 1990-1999, 37 cases of [L.] longbeachae were reported to CDC's Legionella reporting system. It is likely that legionellosis is underreported to CDC," they write.
"It can be difficult to diagnose," Dr. Martin explained. "Patients present with flu-like symptoms: fever, headaches, muscle-aches and pain and maybe pneumonia, so it often presents much like any other pneumonia."
"Physicians need to be sure to think about Legionella when they see patients with pneumonia," he said. "Certainly if they do diagnose Legionella, they should report that to their local or State health department."
Dr. Martin added that it would premature to recommend avoiding potting soil composting and mulch. "We don't know quite yet the risk factors and behaviors that might be involved with infection."
Legionella longbeachae pneumonia in a gardener.
A 52-year-old male gardener, who traveled to Guam Island several days ago, was admitted to our hospital with fever, cough and dyspnea. His chest X-ray showed bilateral infiltration and he was severely hypoxic and hypotensive on admission. He died of multiple organ failure in spite of intensive treatment with mechanical ventilation antibiotics including erythromycin.

Legionella longbeachae serotype 1 was isolated from his sputum and was regarded as the etiologic agent. Legionella longeachae was not isolated from the same type of leaf mold that he used as potting soil. This is the first case of Legionella longbeachae pneumonia from whom the organism was isolated in Japan.
Kansenshogaku Zasshi 1998 Oct;
72(10):1076-9 Okazaki M, Umeda B, Koide M, Saito A
Respiratory Division, Kobe City General Hospital.
Legionnaires' alert after five cases
28th May 1998
A 75-year-old woman gardener, believed to have contracted legionnaires' disease from potting mix, remained in hospital last night following the discovery last week of five cases of the potentially fatal disease in northern Sydney and the Blue Mountains.  The Minister for Health, Dr Refshauge, said there was no common link between the five cases. The other four people are believed to have contracted the disease from unidentified airconditioning systems.
The woman from northern Sydney, was last night in a satisfactory condition.  The others - two northern Sydney women aged 43 and 59, a 47-year-old north Sydney man and a 58-year-old Blue Mountains man - were released from hospital after responding to antibiotics.  The four northern Sydney people live in different suburbs and had not visited any common sites such as shopping centers.

The suburbs where the disease was contracted have not been named to protect patient confidentiality, but the Northern Sydney Area Health Service covers suburbs such as Hornsby, Mona Vale, Manly, Ryde and Gladesville.  A spokesman for Dr Refshauge said the outbreak of a number of cases in a single week, which accounted for almost half of this year's legionnaires' disease notifications, appeared to be a coincidence.
He said it was generally accepted in the scientific community that a single source of contamination would result in a multiple outbreak. The disease has an incubation period of more than one week and NSW health officials are monitoring the situation to see if other people develop symptoms that might link them to the five confirmed cases.
Legionella bacteria are found naturally in the environment and are most commonly spread by inhaling contaminated air. Legionella pneumophilia can build up in cooling towers of air-conditioning systems, spa pools or shower heads. Legionella longbeachae occurs in soil and compost/mulch. The bacteria cannot be spread from person to person.
Legionella Bacteria.
Legionnaires' disease is a serious and potentially life threatening lung infection that is caused by the bacteria Legionella. There are over 40 species of Legionella bacteria. However, only a few cause infections. The most common species associated with causing human disease in Australia are Legionella pneumophila (CRUISE SHIPS) and  GARDENING – ORGRANIC COMPOSTING = Legionella longbeachae.
Legionella pneumophila can be transmitted through the air by inhaling fine droplets of water contaminated with the organism, and are associated with warm water environments such as cooling towers, evaporative air-conditioners, showers, warm water systems, spa pools, misting or droplets sprays and fountains.
Legionella longbeachae is the most common strain in Western Australia and is associated with breathing in aerosols from potting mixes, gardening soils, mulches, composts and soil conditioners.
The early symptoms of Legionnaires' disease are often like a severe ‘flu’ infection, and include some or all of the following symptoms:
Fever (up to 40ºC)
Chills, aching muscles and joints
A dry cough
Headache (often severe)
Loss of appetite
Shortness of breath

Press Release
The Health Department has issued a warning to gardeners to take precautionary steps to prevent Legionella infection from potting mix and other compost materials.
The warning comes following the notification of 10 cases of Legionella longbeachae in the past three months.
Legionella longbeachae is commonly found in potting mix, soil, peat, mulch and garden composts. Legionella infection can cause severe pneumonia in susceptible people. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, muscle pains, difficulty in breathing, cough, diarrhea, vomiting, and mental confusion.
Males over 50 years of age are most at risk, especially smokers and former smokers, as well as people with diabetes, liver disease or lowered immunity. About 15 per cent of hospitalized cases result in death. "The warmer spring weather is ideal for the Legionella bacteria to grow," Environmental Health Director Michael Jackson said.
"People should take the following special precautions in the garden when mulching or composting: Wear gloves to avoid transferring potting mix from hand to mouth; always wash hands after handling potting mix, even if gloves have been worn; take the same precautions when handling soil, peat, mulch and garden composts.
"Legionnaires’ disease is an illness that can severely debilitate people. "If people develop the described symptoms, especially fever, headache, difficulty in breathing and mental confusion, they should see their doctor immediately. "Antibiotic treatment is effective if it is not delayed,"
Media Contact:
Gardeners warned of the danger of Legionnaires' disease Potting mix and other compost materials coupled with the warm summer sun is a recipe most gardeners follow to promote garden growth, but - the Health Department warns - beware of what else these ingredients may grow.

The warning follows the notifications of nine cases of Legionella longbeachae in the past two months, possibly contracted through contact with potting mix or other compost / mulch materials. Legionella infection can cause severe pneumonia in susceptible people. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, muscle pains, difficulty in breathing, cough, diarrhea, vomiting and mental confusion. "Legionella long can be found in potting mix, soil, peat, mulch and garden composts," Environmental Health Director Michael Jackson said.  "And the warmer weather is ideal for the Legionella bacteria to grow."

People should take the following precautions in the garden: open potting mix bags with care to avoid inhaling airborne potting mix; moisten the contents of the bag on opening make a small opening and insert a garden hose to dampen the potting mix; wear gloves to avoid transferring potting mix from hand to mouth; always wash hands after handling potting mix, even if gloves have been worn; and take the same precautions when handling soil, peat, mulch and garden composts/mulches.

Males over 50 years of age were most at risk, especially smokers and former smokers, as well as people with diabetes, liver disease or lowered immunity. Nearly 15 per cent of hospitalized cases resulted in death, but antibiotic treatment, if not delayed, was very effective in treating the infection.
Magazine of the WA Health Department
Summer 1997/1998
1986 Sweden
A previously healthy 50 year old greenhouse repairman fell ill with pneumonia, this report is the first probable case of Legionella longbeachae infection in Sweden.
(Eitrem R, Scandinavain J of Infectious Diseases, 1987 19 381-382)
Legionella longbeachae pneumonia: report of two cases.. 
Legionella longbeachae serogroup 1 was isolated from the respiratory secretions of two patients with community- acquired pneumonia. One patient had a mild infection without evidence of the involvement of other organs and recovered, in spite of inappropriate antibiotic therapy. The other patient was severely-ill on presentation with multisystem failure and died soon after admission to hospital. The organisms were identified by the immunofluorescence technique and by quantitative DNA- hybridization studies. The sources of the infection in these patients are unknown as the organism has never been isolated from the South Australian environment. (Source: Lim I et al. Legionella longbeachae pneumonia: report of two cases. Med J Aust 1989; Vol.150 : 566-601.
Following a statewide outbreak of legionellosis due to Legionella longbeachae in South Australia in 1988 and 1989 studies were performed to find the source. Legionella longbeachae was isolated from a number of potting mixes. The isolation of Legionella longbeachae from some potting mixes suggest that soil rather than water is the natural habitat of this species and may be the source of human infection. (Steele.TW, Appl Environmental Microbiology 1990 56--49-53)
Legionella longbeachae and other Legionella spp, were isolated from 73% of 45 potting soils made in Australia by 13 manufactures, between March 1989 and May 1990.  (Steele TW, Appl Environmental Microbiology 1990 56 (10) 2984-2988)
Eng, R.H.K. et al.,
`Legionnaires' Disease in a Gravedigger',
New York State Journal of Medicine, vol.84, pp. 234-40.
Western Australia recorded its first outbreak of Legionnaires' Disease in July 1996 in the town of Esperance which is in the South West of that state. The main source of sporadic cases (76%) of Legionnaires Disease in Western Australia is Legionella Longbeachae which normally is associated with potting mix or composting organic materials.
Recurrent Legionella longbeachae pneumonia associated with re-exposure to potting soil, composting and mulching (DeWit D Guy D, Fopster K Aust N Z Journal Medicine 26(6) 856-857 Dec 1996) Legionella longbeachae in Western Australia (Ross IS, Mee BJ, Riley TV. Medical Journal Australia 166(7) 1997)

1994  Fatal case of Legionnaires' disease from gardening
A79 year old women was found to be suffering from Legionellosis and died 36 hours later, it was an interesting fact that the women suggested her diagnosis because of recent cases in the media. it was found that Legionella longbeachae was the main cause of death (Kingston M New Zealand Medical Journal p111 23 March 1994)

An apparent increase in notified cases of Legionella infection in Western Australia occurred in late 1994. Although an examination of data from previous years supported the likelihood that this was a seasonal effect, a review of all reported cases for 1994 was conducted in order to identify any clustering of cases or common risk factors.
Methods 'Twenty-six notifications were identified from the Health Department of Western Australia infectious diseases database for 1994, Further information was compiled from Legionella data sheets which were completed by both Communicable Disease Control unit medical staff and HDWA Environmental Health Officers, and were available for 24 of the cases.

Case definition
Notified patients had to fulfill at least one of the following criteria to be accepted as a case:
(1) isolation of Legionella from the patient
(2) a fourfold rise in antibody titre between acute and convalescent phase sera
(3) seroconversion to a titre of at least 256 and a compatible clinical illness
(4) a single titre of at least 512 and a compatatible clinical illness

Nineteen cases (79%) were male and five (2I %) were female. The ages ranged from 25 to 8I years (mean 59 years). Twenty-two cases resided in the Perth metropolitan area and one case came from each of the Kimberley, Central and Great Southern regions. There was no evidence of clustering by postcode. Eight cases (33%) were employed, 13 cases (54%) were retired, one case was an invalid pensioner, one was unemployed and the employment status of one case was unknown.
Seventeen patients (71%) presented between August and December, and the peak occurred In October when seven cases were notified .

Twenty patients presented with clinical features of acute lower respiratory tract infection and another had fever with chest X-ray evidence of pneumonia. Information on the presenting clinical syndrome of three patients was missing. Twenty patients were hospitalized. Data were incomplete for four of these patients, however, for the other 16 the length of hospital stay was between 6 and 39 days (median 14.5 days, mean 16.9 days).  Three cases were admitted to intensive care units. Two required ventilation, one case because of a collapsed lung, and another case for respiratory failure. All three cases survived.

There was two deaths giving case fatality of 8.3%. Case 4 died 19 days after admission for pneumonia . A single scrum specimen taken on day 11 showed a titre of 5I2 to L.Longbeachae. According to his wife he spent every spare moment in the garden. L. Longbeachae was subsequently isolated from PEAT MIX at his home. Case 11 also died from pneumonia. He had an increase in titre to L. longbeachae from 512 of 32,768 over an 11 day period.

Laboratory diagnosis

the serological test used was the indirect fluorescent antibody test, conducted at the State Health Laboratory Services. Nineteen patients had a fourfold or greater rise in titre with paired sera and five others had a single titre of >512 and an illness compatatible with Legionella pneumonia.

Eighteen cases had serological evidence of L longbeachae alone. Four cases had serological evidence of L.pneumophila alone and two cases had increased titre to both species. In only two cases was Legionella isolated. Both isolates were L.pneumophila serogroup 1, one was cultured from bronchoalveolar respiratory secretions.
Potential risk factors Most patients had gardening exposure or one or more potential predisposing factors for Legionellosis.

Case 17 worked in an environment with opportunities for exposure to Legionella.
He was a rural water authority worker who cleaned the inside of a waste water treatment tank with a high pressure hose 18 days before the onset of symptoms. Over seven days, he seroconverted to L.pneumophila serogroups 1 and 2 (titres were respectively 256 and 512), and additionally had a titre of 128 to L.pneumophila serogroup 4.
Thirteen cases (all with L.longbeachae infection) were keen gardeners and seven of them gave a precise history of gardening activities which involved the handling of potting soil or mulch/compost between six and ten days prior to their first symptoms. Samples of peat, soil or potting mix were collected from six of the gardener cases: in four instances no Legionella were grown; one sample which was collected five weeks after the patient's L. longbeachae infection grew L.bozenianni, L. longbeachae was cultured from peat mix and a Legionella species was isolated from soil conditioner at the home of case four.

Samples were taken from home water fixtures of six cases (two with L. pneumophila and four with L. longbeachae) but no Legionella were isolated from these sources. Four of the cases had no potential predisposing factors for Legionellosis and five cases had arc 65 years or over only. Of this group, six were regular gardeners of whom four had just used mulch or potting soil just before the illness onset. Two L.longbeachae cases, however, had no known risk factors. Three cases were diagnosed with Legionella infection during hospital admissions for  unrelated conditions. Cases 23 and 21 developed symptoms four and seven days respectively after admission for elective surgery.

Although consistent with possible nosicomal infection, both cases were active gardeners with L. longbeachae infection; therefore it is more likely that their infections were community acquired. Case nine was an inpatient at a large teaching hospital for 47 days before the onset of Legionellosis caused by L. pneumophila. She had occasional home leave during this time but was housebound by her illness. Testing of her home water fixtures did not reveal a source of Legionella. (Rosie Brennan,Communicable Disease Control Unit , Health Dept Western Australia
(CDI 16 October Vol19/21 1995)

1996 Potting mix
"A 71 year old Sydney man, who is believed to have caught the disease after using potting mix late last year. Is still in hospital. -When using potting mix, people should try not to breathe In the dust when they open the bag, and should moisten the mix before working with it to minimize the dust. "Thorough hand washing and wearing a dust mask are other ways to avoid the disease. 'People over 60 years are more likely to become infected, and should take special care. "There are warnings about Legionnaires on potting mix bags.
NOVEMBER 1997 CAIRNS QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA Legionella longbeachae blamed for four deaths
Health authorities have confirmed there has been an outbreak of legionella disease in Cairns, which it is suspected has killed four people over the past couple of months. The cause of the outbreak is reported to be from Potting Mix.  A spokesperson from the Tropical Public Health Unit in Cairns says two people have definitely died from the disease but says it will be impossible to determine if the other two died from legionella. The disease is different from legionaires' disease, which is carried through air conditioning systems.
The health unit says legionella longbeachae is spread through potting mixes and soil.

Western Australian doctors are treating more than two cases a month of Legionnaire's disease - and garden potting mix is being blamed as a major cause, calls for mandatory warning labels on all soil products which could carry the bacteria. Of 164 reported cases of the disease since 1988, a large number were related to soil (such as  composting) or potting mix. Sir James Cruthers, 72. The Sunday Times Chairman is still recovering from the disease.
Sir James was using commercial potting mix in his Mosman Park home. He was rushed to hospital in a serious condition and remained in intensive care for three days. One woman is believed to have settled out of court with a manufacturer - but according to an industry spokesman, other cases are occurring around Australia.  It was stated that the chief executive of the Nursery Industry Association of Australia, would welcome mandatory signs on potting mix bags. He blamed the "cowboy" attitude of some manufacturers for refusing to self regulate. Since 1988, 19 West Australians have died from Legionnaires' disease - about two deaths a year. Last year, 30 cases were reported.

A PERTH man left blind after a battle with Legionnaires' disease says he caught the deadly bug from home-made compost. he warns that even humble grass clippings and garden waste could become a fertile breeding ground for the bacteria.   He says that the  clippings had been given away by a bowling club to members who wanted it for composting. It was also stated that another man who had some of the compost, which had been stored in a bin for some time, also contracted a milder form of the disease and sought medical advice sooner. When his family sought medical help, he was put into intensive care and was on life support system in Hospital for several weeks. His wife said that his heart gave out as well as his Kidneys and Liver. The disease is being blamed for a serious deterioration in the man’s eyesight Perth News 1997

Legionnaires' Disease Q&A

One strain of bacterium called Legionella pneumophilia has been responsible for illnesses linked to
air conditioning systems in buildings. Another strain called Legionella longbeachae, which occurs in soils, composts/mulches and potting mixes, has recently  been found to cause illness in some people.

How is legionellosis treated? Usually patients are put on a course of antibiotics.
The illness responds readily to treatment.

Can you become immune to it? Yes, if exposed to Legionella you can contract a mild
form of the disease without realizing it and your body builds up antibodies which give immunity to future
infection. This immunity is specific to the particular strain of Legionella to which you were exposed — you
could be immune to one strain of Legionella and not another.

What should I do if I think I’am affected? You should see your medical practitioner immediately. Your doctor may arrange for you to have blood serum or sputum tests.

Are some people more at risk than others? People who are susceptible to lung diseases or chest conditions are more prone to Legionella infections. These include the middleaged and elderly, the sick, cigarette smokers and alcoholics. It’s important for the illness to be diagnosed and treated promptly in such cases because of the possibility that complications may develop. If you come into one of these categories, you should make sure you take the precautions given here.

Legionella longbeachae: a bacterial species implicated in pneumonia.
Source: Stedman's Medical Spellchecker, © 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. All rights reserved.
Legionella longbeachae: A species of gram-negative, aerobic bacteria in the genus LEGIONELLA, first isolated in the U.S. Long Beach, California. Infection is associated with the use of potting SOIL. Because Legionella bacteria are commonly found in soils and potting mix, gardeners should: Always wear a gas mask and gloves when using compost and potting mix, including opening the bag Moisten the contents of potting mix bags to avoid creating dust.

The Lethal Danger of THE Mold Aspergillus
Environmental Toxins: The Lethal Danger of Mold Aspergillus
September 25, 2008 ( – Long Island, Premises Liability, Work Related Fire Fighter Deaths) From the article – Harry a brave firefighter had inhaled the spores at work, and the mold had “colonized” his body, literally taking it over and destroying healthy tissue. An infection with Aspergillus is known as Aspergillosis. Aspergillosis spreads extremely rapidly. Very shortly after his leg surgery, the growth from the spores reached his heart and lungs and killed him!
Environmental Toxins Aspergillus: City Composting kills 25 year old.
Don’t be confused. Not everything that is good for the environment is necessarily good for human beings. Here is a recent case illustrating this point: a young man died, tragically, because no one thought to study the implications of placing a compost mulching facility close to where humans live and work. From 1989-1992, the Town of Islip N.Y. operated a compost facility known as “Resource Recovery.”  Compost – or mulch - is commonly made with manure, minerals, seaweed and other end products of the environment. Compost is added to soil to provide optimal growth for planting. While helpful for farmers and gardeners, and sometimes thought to be good for the environment, compost can be highly toxic and dangerous for people. Read this article about Aspergillosis dangers from supposedly Environmentally Friendly organic mulch – compost.  Millions won in lawsuit!

Aspergillosis is an infection by the fungus Aspergillus. Aspergillosis describes a large number of diseases involving both infection and growth of fungus as well as allergic responses. Aspergillosis can occur in a variety of organs, both in humans and animals.

All animals and many plants have highly efficient mechanisms to prevent themselves being infected by Aspergillus, and it is usually only when those mechanisms are defective in some way that Aspergillus can grow within the body.
Further information for patients on types of aspergillosis can be found in the patient's section of this site.  If a person cannot avoid contact with mould then they should wear an adequate face mask. An ordinary woodworkers dust mask is useless as the spores are so tiny they would not be filtered out. As a minimum specification an N95 facemask is suitable - see facemask guidelines on the Aspergillus Website

ScienceDaily (Sep. 24, 2008) — The European Science Foundation (ESF) has launched a new Research Networking Programme, FUMINOMICS, to study the basic genetic and molecular mechanisms employed by the fungus Aspergillus fumigatus when infecting host cells.  Currently, A. fumigatus is already the most common cause of (clinical) mould infections worldwide. Harmless as the mould may be for persons with a normal defence system, there are still many cases known in which infections with A. fumigatus resulted in severe disease or even death in healthy individuals.

Gardeners warned over plant mould DANGER

Gardeners have been warned about a mould, called Aspergillus, that grows on compost and decaying wood following the death of a middle-aged man after the case was published in The Medical journal The Lancet.  The Lancet  reported that the man, aged 47, died despite hospital anti-fungal treatment. He developed severe breathing problems after working with plant mulch in his garden.
Lung inflammation The case of the Buckinghamshire man dates from May 2007, when he arrived at hospital with worsening shortness of breath, a fever and muscle pain. The results of the X-ray meant that doctors at first thought that pneumonia was the problem and gave him antibiotics. These had no effect and tests suggested the inflammation in his lungs was getting more severe.
By now he had been transferred to the intensive care unit, but even this made no difference, and he was transferred to a bigger hospital for a last-ditch treatment to get oxygen into his body.  At this point, the laboratory found Aspergillus in two samples and talking to his partner revealed that the day before symptoms started he had been engulfed by clouds of dust while he shifted rotting  plant compost. Unfortunately, although anti-fungal treatments were then given, he died a few days later.

Melioidosis Burkholderia pseudomallei
Melioidosis The single most important risk factor for developing severe Melioidosis is diabetes mellitus.
Compost danger.(fungal spores in his garden compost cause death of man)(Brief article)
Source: Choice (Chippendale, Australia)
Choice Publication Date: 01-AUG-08

Acute Melioidosis: In the subgroup of patients where an inoculating event was noted, the mean incubation period of acute Melioidosis was 9 days (range 1–21 days). Patients with latent Melioidosis may be symptom free for decades; the longest period between presumed exposure and clinical presentation is 62 years.[21] The potential for prolonged incubation was recognized in US servicemen involved in the Vietnam War, and was referred to as the "Vietnamese time-bomb". There is a wide spectrum of severity; in chronic presentations, symptoms may last months, but fulminant infection, particularly associated with near-drowning, may present with severe symptoms over hours.  A patient with active Melioidosis usually presents with fever. Pain or other symptoms may be suggestive of a clinical focus, which is found in around 75% of patients. Such symptoms include cough or pleuritic chest pain suggestive of pneumonia,
Chronic Melioidosis: Chronic Melioidosis is usually defined by a duration of symptoms greater than 2 months and occurs in approximately 10% of patients. The clinical presentation of chronic Melioidosis is protean and includes such presentations as chronic skin infection, skin ulcers and lung nodules or chronic pneumonia, closely mimicking tuberculosis, sometimes being called "Vietnamese tuberculosis".[26]

Diagnosis: A definitive diagnosis is made by culturing the organism from any clinical sample: A definite history of contact with soil may not be elicited as Melioidosis can be dormant for many years before becoming acute. Attention should be paid to a history of travel to endemic areas in returned travellers. Some authors recommend considering possibility of Melioidosis in every febrile patient with a history of traveling to and/or staying at endemic areas.
A complete screen (blood culture, sputum culture, urine culture, throat swab and culture of any aspirated pus) should be performed on all patients with suspected Melioidosis (culture on blood agar as well as Ashdown's medium). A definitive diagnosis is made by growing B. pseudomallei from any site. A throat swab is not sensitive but is 100% specific if positive, and compares favorably with sputum culture.

BLASTOMYCOSIS: B. dermatitidis
BLASTOMYCOSIS: B. dermatitidis,  an uncommon but potentially serious infection known as blastomycosis. The fungus grows in moist, acidic soils with high organic material, particularly in wooded areas along waterways. Most of northern Wisconsin is “endemic” for blastomycosis. The Department of Health and Family Services (DHFS) identified ten counties with the highest rates of the disease (2000-2006) as: Menominee, Lincoln, Vilas, Forest, Oneida, Sawyer, Iron, Washburn, Shawano and Marathon.
Symptoms: Most people exposed to B. dermatitidis do not become ill or have only minor symptoms. However, the fungus can cause a serious, sometimes deadly, lung infection. The incubation period is approximately 45 days (ranging from weeks to months). People who experience persistent cough, muscle aches, joint pain, tiredness, chills, low grade fever, skin sores or unexplained weight loss, may have blastomycosis and should promptly seek medical attention. The first symptoms of the disease can be missed because it seems like other illnesses. Dogs, cats and other animals are also susceptible.
Sources: The fungus occurs naturally in certain unique environments, found in Wisconsin and other locations, including moist acidic soils overlaid with leaf litter. Weather conditions may cause spore release. Transmission is by inhalation of airborne spores after disturbance of contaminated material. An environmental link was first established in 1986 when the organism was isolated from riverbank soil. More recently, DHFS concluded that a pine needle pile at a small yard materials collection site may have been the source of a cluster of 21 cases in the City of Merrill in 2006. Whatever the source, the outbreak in Merrill was likely a unique set of circumstances and not predictable because B. dermatitidis growth is not well understood

Diseases Branch, telephone (404) 639-2215. For local and state use, a case report form may be obtained from the World-Wide Web,

20 July 2009    Update: Marcie brought Rod home from the hospital Saturday. He is on continued bedrest and antibiotics for another 10-12 days.  Thanks to all of you for your continued support & well wishes!

16 July 2009   We just wanted to let you know that our Editor, Rod Cook, is not posting any news at this time because he is in the hospital.

He was diagnosed with pneumonia last week. He was getting weaker each day, so this past Monday (7/13), his wonderful wife Marcie insisted on taking him to the emergency room. The doctors saw something besides pneumonia on his x-rays and have admitted him for further testing. We do not have results at this time.

We expect to have the results and possibly have him back home by the end of this week. As we all know, our workaholic editor will be back to work soon, reporting the news we all depend upon.

He has been admitted to Christus Santa Rosa-Westover Hills. He is on total bed rest, Marcie being his only visitor.

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