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.
From 1971 to 2002, there were 764 documented waterborne outbreaks associated with drinking water, resulting in 575,457 cases of illness and 79 deaths. During 2009–2010, public health officials from 17 states reported 33 drinking water outbreaks. The outbreaks resulted in 1,040 illnesses, 85 hospitalizations, and nine deaths. At least one etiologic agent was identified in all but one drinking water outbreak; Legionella was implicated in 19 outbreaks, 72 illnesses, 58 hospitalizations, and eight deaths.
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.