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Bags of compost linked to legionella cases

A report has found bags of compost to be the likely source of a cluster of legionella cases in Scotland last year, The Scotsman has reported.

Between August and October 2013 six confirmed and one probable case of Legionella longbeachae were reported in the Lothian and Tayside areas.

The major source of human infection with Legionella longbeachae is considered to be commercial growing media, such as soils and composts which are sold through garden centres, and other composted materials such as bark and sawdust. Older people are more at risk.

A new report by Health Protection Scotland has now found that all seven patients had spent time in the garden or outdoors in the two weeks prior to their illness, and six had recently bought compost.

However, the investigators found that all the products used by the patients were bought at different times at different premises.

The compost was found to originate five different manufacturers at five different sites in England, Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Five samples tested by investigators which were linked to patients tested positive for Legionella longbeachae.

However, it was not possible to pinpoint the exact source of the Legionella longbeachae to one particular product.

Instead, the report put the cluster of cases down to a combination of factors which may have increased the risk of the infection, including the warm spell of weather.

The 11th Annual Combatting Legionella & Water Treatment conference, will be taking place on 24-25 September at Holte Suite, Aston Villa Park, Birmingham.

The conference is a comprehensive and cutting-edge event that will ensure engineering and facilities management teams are able to prevent legionella bacteria and comply with water safety regulation.

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