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Plant Disease Transmission To Humans: Can Virus And Plant Bacteria Infect A Human

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Stethoscope Around A Plant
图像中 Inna Polekhina

No matter how closely you listen to your plants, you’ll never hear a single “Achoo!” from the garden, even if they’re 受感染的 with viruses or bacteria. Although plants express these infections differently from humans, some gardeners worry about plant disease transmission to humans — after all, we can get viruses and bacteria, 太, 正确的?

Can Plant Bacteria Infect a Human?

Although it would seem like a no brainer to assume that plant and human diseases are distinct and cannot crossover from plant to gardener, this isn’t the case at all. Human infection from plants is very rare, but it does happen. The primary pathogen of concern is a bacteria known as Pseudomonas 绿脓杆菌, which causes a type of soft rot in plants.

P. 绿脓杆菌 infections in humans can invade nearly any tissue in the human body, provided they are already weakened. Symptoms vary widely, from urinary tract infections to dermatitis, gastrointestinal infections and even systemic illness. To make matters worse, this bacterium is becoming increasingly antibiotic resistant in institutional settings.

但是等等! Before you run to the garden with a can of Lysol, be aware that even in severely ill, hospitalized patients, the infection rate of P. 绿脓杆菌 is only 0.4%, making it highly unlikely that you will ever develop an infection even if you have open wounds that come in contact with 受感染的 plant tissues. Normally-functioning human immune systems make human infection from plants highly improbable.

Do Plant Viruses Make People Sick?

Unlike bacteria that can function in a more opportunistic fashion, viruses need very exacting conditions to spread. Even if you eat fruits from your 南瓜马赛克 受感染的 西瓜, you won’t contract the virus responsible for this disease (请注意: eating fruits from virus-受感染的 plants isn’t recommended — they’re not usually very tasty but won’t hurt you.).

You should always cull virus-受感染的 plants as soon as you realize they’re present in your garden, since they are often vectored from sick plants to healthy ones by sap-sucking insects. Now you can dive in, pruners blazin’, confident that there’s not a significant connection between plant diseases and humans.

This article was last updated on
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