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.
Israel experienced a large number of waterborne disease outbreaks between 1975 and 1985, followed by a steep decline in the period 1986-92. Large-scale community waterborne disease outbreaks occurred primarily in the late 1970s, and in 1985 (the Krayot, four small towns neighboring Haifa), but substantial outbreaks occurred as late as 1989, with 4 during 1986-90, and 1 during 1991-92. New water standards, including mandatory chlorination of all community water supplies, came into effect in late 1988.
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. Oral or intravenous rehydration therapy may be needed, and an antimotility drug (eg, loperamide) may be useful in viral diarrhea.