Possible Health Concern
- Subject: [cg] Possible Health Concern
- From: Anne M Harvey firstname.lastname@example.org
- Date: Thu, 3 Oct 2002 19:12:57 -0400
I don't want to be an alarmist, but I have been treated for a lung
infection for the last year and think it may have come from working in my
community garden. I am sending this as a cautionary tale...
The infection was a mycobacterial infection, though mine was a rare
strain of mycobacterium -- M. interjectum. I was treated with a number
of antibiotics (rifabutin, biaxin, cipro, levaquin), some of which have
unpleasant side effects. The whole ordeal started last spring when I was
digging in a pile of wood chips that the garden uses to cover pathways.
The pile had been sitting for a few days and gotten rained on. There was
obvious mold and fungus growing in some parts of the pile and when I
stuck my shovel in a large dusty cloud rose up and I breathed in some of
it. About a month later I coughed up blood which sent me to the doctor's
office. Two CAT scans and two bronchoscopies later I had a diagnosis and
took antibiotics for the next 6 months. It appears to be gone now,
though something still appears on the CAT scan -- probably scarring.
Mycobacteria can grow on decaying plant matter and can be found in soil.
Some people are more susceptible than others to these infections --
especially immune compromised people. Mycobacterial infections are not
all that uncommon, but are difficult to treat. 1-2 years of taking an
antibiotic cocktail is pretty standard treatment.
I just thought I should share this experience so people can be careful
and avoid a potentially unpleasant ailment.
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