As I accidentally breathed in the blood, fish & bone powder I was feeding my plants yesterday, I was reminded of a case which made the front cover of The Lancet last week entitled: gardening can seriously damage your health.
It highlighted a case report of an unfortunate man who succumbed to aspergillosis, a fungal disease. He acquired this through breathing in the spores & he did that because he had spread a large amount of rotting tree and plant mulch upon his garden which generated clouds of dust, engulfing him. Treated initially for pneumonia, it was unfortunate that his partner didn't recall this dust cloud until three days into his hospital stay: by then his sputum samples had grown the fungus Aspergillus fumigatus. Apparently his symptoms started within 24 hours of spreading the mulch. Anti-fungal Amphotericin was immediately started but the infection overwhelmed him and he died just 5.5 days after entering hospital and just 12 days after the first signs of breathing distress.
This happened in High Wycombe, a town near me! I hope this mulch wasn't commercially available.
Aspergillosis and some other fungal infections (cryptosporidium, candida (yeast), coccidiomycosis, fusarium) are, in developed countries, usually opportunistic infections, mainly affecting the immune suppressed (through drug treatment or sometimes genetic makeup). AS we use more immunosuppressive drugs, so they are becoming a problem in hospitals. (It is not known if this unfortunate man had a defect in his immune system.) Of course in the general population, many have had experience of one of the dermatophytes, they aren't killers but who wants ringworm or athletes foot.