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Gardeners warned over mould

13th June 2008

A Buckinghamshire man has died after breathing in Aspergillus mould and gardeners have been warned to wear protective equipment when working with rotting substances.

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The Lancet reported that the man, who was 47 years old, died in hospital. He was admitted in May 2007 with breathing difficulties, fever and muscular pains.

Aspergillus mould is commonly found in gardens in Britain and is rarely associated with severe health problems.

After giving him an x-ray, doctors initially decided that he had contracted pneumonia and prescribed antibiotics.

The antibiotics did not work and further investigation showed that his lungs were becoming more inflamed.

He was put in the intensive care unit and when this did not help, he was sent to a larger hospital in order to try a "last-ditch treatment to get oxygen into his body".

Doctors found evidence of Aspergillus in the man's body, and found out he had been working in the garden with decaying vegetation. He was given anti-fungal treatment but died.

Professor David Denning, of the University of Manchester, said: "This should not be a problem for your average small-scale gardener who is using small quantities of compost at one time."

"However, if you are moving it in very large amounts, then perhaps wearing a face-mask would be advisable."

Professor Denning stated that doctors needed to quickly identify the fact that the mould caused the problems and administer anti-fungal drugs.



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