Gardeners have been warned about a mould, called Aspergillus that grows on compost and decaying wood following the death of a middle-aged man.
The Aspergillus mould is very common in UK gardens and is better known as an allergy trigger, but serious illness linked to it remains relatively rare.
An expert said a dust-mask was a good idea when moving large quantities of mouldy bark chippings or compost.
David Denning, of the University of Manchester, said that while Aspergillus itself could be found in many gardens, it would generally be dangerous only if disturbed in large quantities and the resulting dust inhaled.
He 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.”
Prof Denning said that the key to recovery in severe cases was rapid identification of the problem, and prompt anti-fungal therapy, as many doctors would not see any cases of “aspillergosis” in their career, and try antibiotics first.
Source: BBC News