Water Borne Diseases-Facts, List


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Water borne illnesses, in simple terms, are abnormal physical conditions caused due to either intake or exposure to contaminated water. Such conditions are arises when the consumed or contacted water contains pathogenic microorganisms. In some cases contaminated fresh water when used for preparing food can act as source of food borne diseases. Diarrheal diseases are attributed to be 4.1% of the entire GBD (Global Burden of Disease according to World Health Organization). It is also recorded approximately 1.8 million people die every year due to diarrheal disease.

There are micro organisms that can contaminate water which may include protozoa, bacteria and other viruses etc. Many of these viruses are intestinal parasites.

Symptoms of water borne illness:

Symptoms of Water borne diseases may mostly depend on the pathogen or virus that causes the infection. Symptoms of water borne illness may onset from 2 days to 10 days after consumption of contaminated water. Some of the common symptoms may include:

• Diarrhea or looseness of bowel

• Abdominal cramp or pain in stomach

• Queasiness

• Vomiting

• Hay fever

• Respiratory problem or difficulties while breathing

• Ear related issues

• Skin rashes

• Ocular disabilities

In case you experience the above mentioned symptoms, you should consult your doctor immediately, as some infection may be hazardous.

Causes of Water borne Diseases

The chief cause of water borne illness is exposure to or drinking contaminated water. There are commonly recognized water borne illnesses that may include:

• Cryptosporidiosis also referred to as crypto (a parasitic condition resulted due to Cryptosporidium).

• Escherichia coli O157:H7 is an enterhemorrhagic form of Escherichia coli bacterium which may cause waterborne illness

• Giardiasis is a fever in humans which is also categorized as diarrheal infection caused by Giardia lamblia.

• Norovirus is an RNA virus also previously known as Norwalk agent, which is responsible for approximately 90 percent of widespread outburst of non-bacterial gastroenteritis.

• Shigellosis is also referred to as Marlow Syndrome or bacillary dysentery. It is among the serious conditions caused by waterborne pathogens known as Shigella.

There are numerous chemical that are sometime present in water, naturally or due to human activities. Most of these chemicals are harmful and contaminates the water. This in turn contaminates the water which may prove to be hazardous for human consumption.

• Pesticides: Pesticides contain organophosphate as well as carbonates that may damage and affect the human nervous system and may also cause fatal diseases such as cancer. In some cases pesticides may also contain carcinogens in more than required degree. These pesticides may be present on the water which on consumption may cause hazardous disease. This is another common source of water borne illness.

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• Lead: Lead may also be present on water which may get deposited in the body and have its influence on the nervous system. Children as well as women are prone to such condition resulted out of lead present in water.

• Fluoride: Fluoride consumed through water may result in yellowing of teeth and can cause damages to the spinal cord. It may also lead to crippling diseases.

• Nitrates: Nitrate is one of the common sources that contaminate the drinking water and can cause blue baby symptoms in infants that drink formula milk. It is also studied that nitrate is associated with cancer of digestive tract. It makes the algae to flourish causing eutrophication on the surface of the water.

• Petrochemicals: There are certain petrochemicals that may cause cancer even in exposure to insignificant degree. These petrochemicals may be present on the surface of water causing serious water borne illness on consumption.

• Chlorinated solvents: These are the other harmful agents that may be present with water which may cause infertility issues and possibly cancer.

• Arsenic: Consumption of contaminated water may also leads to arsenic poisoning that may develop liver related issues and the damages to the nervous system.

• Other heavy metals: Metallic disruptions may be caused due to consumption of heavy metals through water, that may also affect the functionality of the kidney as well as hinder the nervous system functioning.

Among water borne illnesses, malaria is probably the most widely recorded diseases which are usually caused by mosquito diseases.

Some of the other water borne illnesses are as follows:

• Anaemia is also known as anemia is a condition of reduced number of red blood cells.

• Cholera is caused by the Vibrio cholerae bacterium which is small intestine infection.

• Dengue is a tropical infection which is also referred to as backbone fever caused by dengue virus.

• Hepatitis is an inflammatory condition of liver due to the inflammatory cells present in the organ.

• Methemoglobinemia is caused due to increased level of methemoglobin in blood.

• Ring Worm also known as Tinea is a skin related issue where in mycosis are seen on the skin.

• Typhoid fever is water borne illness caused by contaminated water. It is amongst the commonly known waterborne disease which may develop due to salmonella enterica bacteria.

Prevention of water borne diseases

Water borne illnesses may prove to be hazardous to human health; hence it is better to practice preventive measures than looking for treatments later. Water borne outbursts in aquatic surroundings are usually caused due to inappropriate management of water resources. It is essential to practice proper water management techniques in order to have cleaner uncontaminated water and healthier environment. There are some measures that should be adopted by the government to supply healthy water to the citizens. However, on the other hand people should ensure precautions on their side.

First and foremost, people should boil water and store in clean containers to make sure that they are consuming uncontaminated water. One can also use water purifiers to kill germs and virus present in the water. Stagnant and still water should be eradicated from the surrounding. While you are away from house ensure you do not drink water from any source that may seem contaminated. If required, carry water bottle or buy mineral water from shop. These are essential steps that you need to follow in order to keep yourself safe from contaminated water.

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