27 May 2012 Last updated at 20:40 ET
Gardeners are being warned to wash their hands after using compost following a series of Legionella cases in Scotland over the past five years.
One man has died and five others have become ill after contracting a rare strain called Legionella longbeachae, which appears to come from compost.
The unusual strain is well known in Australia and New Zealand, where bags of compost carry warning labels. But these are the first cases linked to compost to be confirmed in the UK.
As many gardeners head out to their gardens and allotments to enjoy the warm weather, experts are warning them to wash their hands after using compost, particularly before eating or smoking.
“Gardening is a very healthy hobby but like anything in life there’s a few risks,” said Dr Martin Donaghy, medical director of Health Protection Scotland. “Over the past five years we’ve had three confirmed cases of Legionella longbeachae, plus two ‘probable’ and one ‘possible’ so we do need to take steps to reduce the risk even further.”
Doctors all over the UK are being urged to be alert for a link with gardening if they see patients with unusual pneumonia…