HEALTH warnings on compost packaging are being planned after a spate of cases of Legionella poisoning linked to gardening.

It comes after five cases of Legionella longbeachae were identified in Scotland in just a few months. Four victims have been treated at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and the fifth person's condition was said to be improving at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee. Four of those affected are keen gardeners aged between 62-84.

The Scottish Government confirmed yesterday that calls for advisory labels on all compost packaging are being acted upon.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "We are already in discussions with Public Health England and other partners about what advice should be distributed on good hygiene in relation to gardening."

Legionella longbeachae is an unusual and potentially deadly strain of the bug can cause a wide range of symptoms from mild flu-like illness to pneumonia.

The major source of human infection is considered to be commercial growing material and other composted matter such as bark and sawdust.