A 47-year-old man died while gardening after inhaling a mold known as Aspergillus, which grows on compost and decaying wood, BBC News reported Thursday.
The man, who lived in Buckinghamshire, England, was working with rotting wood and plant mulch in his garden in May 2007 when he developed severe breathing problems, a fever and muscle pain.
The incident is detailed in this week’s online edition of the medical journal The Lancet, with the headline "A Warning to Gardeners."
X-rays showed his lungs were severely inflamed and doctors initially treated him with antibiotics, thinking it was pneumonia.
Later, tests determined he had inhaled Aspergillus, and he was given anti-fungal treatments, but it was too late.
Medical experts suggest using a face mask and said those who notice any breathing problems after gardening should seek medical attention immediately.