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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 77

of 'Epidemiology and pathogenesis of Legionella infection'

Does using potting mix make you sick? Results from a Legionella longbeachae case-control study in South Australia.
O'Connor BA, Carman J, Eckert K, Tucker G, Givney R, Cameron S
Epidemiol Infect. 2007;135(1):34. Epub 2006 Jun 19.
A case-control study was performed in South Australia to determine if L. longbeachae infection was associated with recent handling of commercial potting mix and to examine possible modes of transmission. Twenty-five laboratory-confirmed cases and 75 matched controls were enrolled between April 1997 and March 1999. Information on underlying illness, smoking, gardening exposures and behaviours was obtained by telephone interviews. Recent use of potting mix was associated with illness (OR 4.74, 95% CI 1.65-13.55, P=0.004) in bivariate analysis only. Better predictors of illness in multivariate analysis included poor hand-washing practices after gardening, long-term smoking and being near dripping hanging flower pots. Awareness of a possible health risk with potting mix protected against illness. Results are consistent with inhalation and ingestion as possible modes of transmission. Exposure to aerosolized organisms and poor gardening hygiene may be important predisposing factors to L. longbeachae infection.
Communicable Disease Control Branch, Department of Health South Australia, Australia.