Waterborne Diseases – World’s Leading Killer/ Types and Information

June 6, 2017

Although waterborne diseases are the biggest problem in less developed countries, it is also a life-threatening disease in developed countries. These diseases are caused due to the drinking of contaminated water.

Every year, it is recorded that water-related diseases cause 3.4 million deaths all over the world. In India, 80 percent of deaths occur due to waterborne diseases.

To solve the problems to some extent, water filters (RO) are used to remove bacteria and pathogens from the contaminated water to decrease the incidence of waterborne diseases.

 

Drinking Water

More about contaminated water

Waterborne diseases are caused due to the consumption of contaminated water. Contaminated water contains bacteria and pathogenic microorganisms. Some microorganisms that may cause waterborne diseases are:
Bacteria -Viruses -Protozoa -Intestinal parasites

These microorganisms pass onto the individual with the help of the contaminated water. Some waterborne diseases simply cause unpleasant symptoms and can be easily cured while some become fatal. In rural areas, it becomes a life threat, particularly when insufficient medical treatment is provided.

Types of Waterborne Disease

  1. Diseases caused by protozoa:
    • Amaebiasis – Symptoms include fatigue, diarrhea, abdominal discomfort and weight loss.
    • Cryptosporidiosis – Symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal discomfort/ pain and weight loss.
    • Giardiasis – Symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal discomfort/ pain and fever.
  2. Diseases caused by bacteria:
    • Campylobacteriosis – Symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal discomfort/ pain and fever.
    • Cholera – Symptoms include vomiting, muscle cramps, diarrhea and fever.
    • Shigellosis – Symptoms include blood in stool, diarrhea and fever.
    • Typhoid fever – Symptoms include fever, nausea, vomiting, headache, constipation/ diarrhea, loss of appetite and an abdominal rash.
  3. Diseases caused by virus:
    • Hepatitis – Symptoms include fever, chills, dark urine, jaundice and abdominal discomfort/ pain.
    • Viral gastroenteritis – Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, gastrointestinal discomfort, fever and headache.

Transmission of Water-Borne Diseases

The water gets contaminated when the drinking systems are affected by feces and urine of infected animals or people. Such things happen when the source of private and public drinking water system gets their water through contaminated rivers, creeks, lakes and rain. The water gets contaminated by infected animals or people, runoff from landfills, sewer pipes, septic fields, and industrial or residential developments wastage.

The water gets contaminated when the drinking systems are affected by feces and urine of infected animals or people. Such things happen when the source of private and public drinking water system gets their water through contaminated rivers, creeks, lakes and rain. The water gets contaminated by infected animals or people, runoff from landfills, sewer pipes, septic fields, and industrial or residential developments wastage.

The contamination further spreads due to dramatic outbreaks of fecal-oral diseases such as typhoid or cholera and also because of floodwaters, septic fields, water runoff from landfills and sewer pipes. The other way of the contamination may be due to consuming infected food or person’s hands. The flies may spread germs in food. The germs can cause diseases by even slight contact and transfer.

These are only a way to break the continued transmission of waterborne diseases if the hygienic behavior of people gets improved and the people are provided with their basic needs such as:

  • Sanitation
  • Clean-drinking water
  • Bathing facilities
  • Washing facilities

When a large number of people sleep outside in hot weather having no protection against mosquitoes, transmission of malaria is facilitated. Malaria can be controlled with efficient drainage; as mosquitoes depend on water to complete their respective life cycles.

Prevention Tips

Now, let’s conclude with the tips for avoiding waterborne diseases:

Don’t always rely on bottled water. Bottled water gets expired, so always check the label before drinking bottled water. In addition, always assure that the bottled water has been kept in a dry place out of direct sunlight at room temperature or cooler.

Always be careful while drinking water if your immune system is weak. Severe infections and reactions may cause to the elderly person having an organ transplant recently or have a chronic disease which weakens their immune system.

Educate yourself and your surroundings with the current news about water, sanitation on the radio, TV or through the newspaper. You must read the annual reports from the water supplier about the safety of the water.

  • If the water supply is not sanitary, don’t forget to boil water before drinking. Try to use filtered or RO water.
  • If your drinking water system is a local public water system, be sure to have your water safety checked. Read EPA standard guidelines.
  • Never expose your water supply with harsh chemicals or pesticides. These substances may create the potential for waterborne disease and other unpleasant illnesses.

Fortunately, researchers are studying and investing to gather information about the outbreaks of these life-threatening diseases. They also further update and improve water treatment practices and standards all over the country.

 

Content Reviewed by – Asian Hospital Medical Editors