Overview: Water-borne diseases are any illness caused by drinking water, which contain pathogenic microorganisms. Over the past decades, the picture of water related human health issues has become increasingly comprehensive, with the emergence of new water related infection diseases and the re-emergence of ones already known. Data are available for some water, sanitation and hygiene related diseases, but for others such malaria, schistosomiasis the analyses remain to be done.
Problems associated: Waterborne diseases are infections, caused by bacteria, protozoa, viruses or parasites, which are transmitted by consumption of water containing these disease-causing organisms. Cholera – caused by Vibrio cholerae serogroups O1 or O139. Symptoms: profuse watery diarrhoea, vomiting, dehydration, acidosis and circulatory collapse. Due to the rapid dehydration, death in untreated individuals may occur within a few hours.
Statistics: Of the 293 reported outbreaks, 121 (41.3%) occurred in Canada and 172 (58.7%) in the United States, from 1970 to 2014. The outbreaks resulted in a total of 41,862 illnesses and 3 deaths. The mean annual number of outbreaks reported over the 40-year period was 7.3, with a mean of 143 illnesses per outbreak. The number of illnesses per outbreak ranged from 2 to 5,000. In Canada, 3,992 illnesses were reported. In the United States, 37,870 illnesses were reported.
Essential to prevention efforts are clean drinking water, restaurant and meat inspection, temperature monitoring, appropriate sewage processing, monitoring of public waterways for contamination, and public education on proper hygiene. Vaccines are available for hepatitis A and typhoid fever. Most acute diarrhea episodes are self–limited.