[toc]According to WHO, more than 3.4 million individuals die every year due to water borne diseases, making it the leading cause of death and disease throughout the world. Children remain the most affected group with majority of them dying of illnesses caused by infectious organisms, thriving in the contaminated water sources. Though, it is the major occurrence in less or under developed countries, but it remains a threat even in the United States too. Any source of water containing pathogenic microorganisms is capable of spreading water borne diseases. The major forms of pathogenic microorganisms that contaminate the water bodies include intestinal parasites, bacteria, protozoa and viruses. Many of the water borne disease can be treated, but a few of them can be really fatal, when proper treatment is not availed.
Major Types Of Water Borne Diseases
On coming in contact with an infected individual or ingesting the contaminated water or food prepared from it, one gets infected with viral or bacterial gastroenteritis. It results in abdominal cramps, watery diarrhoea, fever or chills, accompanied by vomiting. One can get recovered from gastroenteritis within a span of a few days by taking measures to reduce dehydration affects that develops on heavy loss of fluids from the body.
Consuming electrolyte supplements and oral rehydration solution, dehydration affects can be avoided. Intake lots of plain water, fresh fruit juices, coconut water, lemon water and water of pulses ( dal), to compensate for the loss of fluids from the body. Keep a clean hygiene that involves frequent hand wash and drinking decontaminated water as the best defence against this disease.
Hepatitis A and E
Different forms of viruses like Hepatitis A, B, C, D and E can lead to liver inflammation called as hepatitis. Out of these, Hepatitis A (HAV) and Hepatitis E (HEV) are the two waterborne diseases. On consumption of water contaminated by stool of an HEV and HAV infected person and food prepared from it, leads to hepatitis. This happens with increased risk in those with poor personal hygiene and poor sanitary methods or when one visits to places with poor sanitation around. The characteristic of hepatitis is yellowing of skin or jaundice. Both of these hepatitis forms are self limiting infections. Vaccines are available to prevent infection of these hepatitis viruses.
Consumption of water infected with 4 different Shigella species result in dysentery. The symptoms include severe pain in the abdomen associated with watery diarrhea. Infected persons should take all measures to avoid dehydration and regain loss fluids and electrolyte content of the body.
Typhoid is caused by infection of Salmonella typhi bacteria that breed in the contaminated water. The major symptoms include diarrhoea, abdominal rash, drowsiness, fatigue and high fever. Infection is also spread though contact with an infected individual. Doctors prescribe specific medications and antibiotics to kill away the Salmonella typhi bacteria. On completing the proper antibiotic dosage, one gets fully relieved from symptoms of typhoid. Typhoid vaccine is also available for protection and prevention from the disease.
Water that gets contaminated with Vibrio cholera bacteria leads to cholera in individual, who consume it. Cholera epidemics are commonly observed during monsoon seasons and floods. During these seasonal changes, one must take extra care in purifying the drinking water before consumption. People residing in crowded places, with inadequate sanitary conditions are more likely to suffer from cholera. It results in dehydration and diarrhea. Consume ORS solutions to prevent diahrrea, during cholera infection. Cholera vaccine is available to prevent occurrence of the disease.