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This section contains media releases released a little while ago. Please note that due to the long time when some of these were released images have been removed and some links might no longer work.

October 8, 2015

Take care when gardening!

West Coasters are being urged to follow some simple steps in order to avoid getting a serious illness linked to gardening.

Dr Cheryl Brunton, West Coast Medical Officer of Health, says this is the time of year when cases of Legionnaires' disease increase.

"In spring every year the number of people with Legionnaires' disease begins to climb. This seasonal surge is mostly linked to gardeners catching Legionnaires' disease from potting mix or compost.
"After a long winter it's great to get back in the garden and make the most of the longer, warmer days, but please make sure you avoid inhaling the dust from potting mix or compost as this can be dangerous," she says.
It is important gardeners follow five simple steps to avoid catching Legionnaires' disease from potting mix or compost:

  1. Open potting mix carefully – use scissors instead of ripping the bags
  2. Wear a disposable face mask and gloves, and open the bag away from your face
  3. Do your potting in a well-ventilated area outdoors
  4. Dampen down the potting mix or compost with a sprinkle of water to reduce dust
  5. Wash your hands thoroughly after handling potting mix or gardening


Lee Harris,
Senior Communications Advisor
West Coast District Health Board
t: +64 27 836 1528

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