Legionnaires’ cases in Canterbury prompt health warning

The Selwyn district has had its first cases of legionellosis this spring.

Community and Public Health reported one case for the week ending October 15, and one for the week ending October 8, following zero cases for the month of September. There were three cases in Christchurch for the same month.

Canterbury medical officer of health Dr Ramon Pink urged gardeners to protect themselves against the legionnaires’ disease bacteria this spring.

“You can mistake it for the flu. Most people get high fever, muscle aches, fatigue and headache, and some get diarrhoea, vomiting, and chest pains,” Pink said.

“In severe cases, people develop dry cough that could lead to pneumonia that requires hospitalisation.”

A Community and Public Health annual campaign was this year highlighting the importance of using the right gear when gardening, particularly when handling compost and potting mix. He said there was typically an increase during the months of September, October, and November the gardening season.

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