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95%of peat extracted in Ireland is burnt in power stations. I doubt that any British government is going to stop that.  Even if an "Environmental tax"  of £1 a bag is put on imported peat products, I would rather pay that than spend hours sieving rubbish, as I did with some Lidl compost this year.


 Quote from above: "According to the hpa "Pontiac fever is a mild flu-like illness caused be legionella bacteria, often affecting previously healthy and young individuals. Symptoms can include fever, headaches and muscle aches but, unlike Legionnaires' disease, Pontiac fever does not cause pneumonia.  The illness will usually clear up without treatment within two to three days."

Sounds like what I've got - except for the 'young' bit   


My day job is based around treating and preventing infections.  I thought you might like some things clarifying - please tell me to butt out if you want.

There are a few types of Legionella.  The one you may have heard about previously is mainly found in water and causes infection.  The flu like illness (Pontiac Fever) is it's mild form of infection but in some patients; where a more severe infection occurs  and results in pneumonia, this is called Legionnaire's disease, can be severe and in unfortunatley in some cases fatal.  

Legionella longbeachae is bacteria that is receiving press attention.  We don't have a lot of experience with it in the UK (or worldwide).  This is probably not because it hasn't ever caused infections here but because we haven't been specifically looking for it.  We know it can cause severe pneumonia and it is likely it has a milder form of illness with flu-like symptoms. Technically, we probably shouldn't be referring to infections caused by it as legionnaires' disease or pontic fever but I expect that we will adopt these terms anyway as the resulting infections are similar and probably indistinguishable without laboratory test.  We are finding L.longbeachae in compost but this is unlikely to be the main environmental resevoir of the bacteria - basically we don't know where this bacteria usually grows.  We don't know for definite how it is transmitted to humans but in the case of the bacteria on compost it is most likely that ingestion of the bacteria (from compost on our hands) or inhalation of the dust from dry compost is the way we are exposed to it.  Simple measures such as wetting down compost before use and washing hands might reduce our risk of being infected by it.

I completely agree with Farmageddun that there needs to be some perspective here - I will still be using peat-free compost if I need to and I see what happens when you get infections on a day to day basis.

Fairygirl ... bird flu is still out there.  It's causing biggest problems for humans in China at the moment (new strain, not the one that got all the press attention before the 'swine flu' pandemic but that one is still out there too).  There were a few headlines about this but the press have seem to have got bored of reporting on it. 


Thanks LIlAmbar, informative and rational.



Exactly my point LilAmbar- the media likes to decide what calamity is having centre stage and there is simply too much scaremongering and not enough rationalising. If it's a slow week - they drum up some crisis or other. All research has to be carefully considered and not taken out of context - as it so often is.

My tongue was firmly in my cheek about bird flu! 



Thanks LilAmbar - it's good to get some balanced information. 

LilAmbar - you touch on a point I was thinking about, where else can the L.longbeachae bacteria be found. It seems that legionellae in general are fairly common and widespread so the fact that the strain identified in an illness is also found in compost that the patient had doesn't necessarily mean they got it from the compost. Maybe it was growing in a water butt the patient used to water their garden?

Interesting that the profession is starting to wonder if this strain might be able to be passed on in dry dust. I didn't realise how recently the first strains of legionella were identified, not a surprise really that there is still more to learn!


L.longbeachae does not appear to grow in water and because we know that the cases reported from Scotland we caused by this specific legionella it wouldn't have been from the water butt.  L.pneumophilia can be found in water butts but isn't too much of a problem in the UK most of the year because it needs warmer temperatures to multiply up to dangerous levels.  One place that we know this legionella is a problem is in vehicle washer bottles (warmed up nicely by the engine).  A good reason to add screen wash to the one in your car .

There is always more learn about bacteria, they are evolving faster than we can keep up with. 


FG - I have enough problems with man flu - it's far worse than bird flu 


I just hope there isn't  a strain of fairyflu coming...

See also the thread 'Horse manure advice', where we touched briefly on contamination of locally produced horse manure by Pyralids. It seems that we must remain vigilant about what we put on our plants, and remain cynical about the claims by big businesses - 'saving the planet' and 'going green' seem to be currently useful phrases that justify the big chemical companies selling us all sorts of obnoxious substances! Ironic isn't it, that the EU banned the sale of natural substances, such as Derris powder! 


That's a factsheet for a herbicide, no more.  

As I said in another post there are too many people who want to take short cuts.  This includes using pesticides and chemical fertilizers.  It is of no surprise to me that these chemicals contaminate the environment.  What shocks is that other people are.

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