Water Borne Diseases

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INTRODUCTION An adult human needs to drink at least 1.5 liters of water a day to replace fluid lost in urine, sweat, and respired air and to perform essential biochemical functions. Moreover, almost 90 percent of body mass is water. Water, however, can also carry dangerous pathogens and toxic chemicals into the body. The catalogue of waterborne pathogens is long, and it includes many that are well-known as well as far larger numbers of more obscure organisms. Waterborne pathogens include viruses (e.g., hepatitis A, poliomyelitis); bacteria (e.g., cholera, typhoid, coliform organisms); protozoa (e.g., cryptosporidiosum, amebae, giardia); worms (e.g., schistosomia, guinea worm); and toxins (e.g., arsenic, cadmium, numerous organic chemicals). Water also harbors the intermediate stages of many parasites, either as free-living larvae or in some other form, and it is the vehicle for essential stages in the life cycle of many dangerous insect vectors, notably mosquitoes and blackflies. Chemical contamination or pollution of drinking water is another serious problem—one that has become a great deal worse in the modern industrial era, due to the widespread, and often unregulated, discharge of toxic substances into rivers, lakes, and oceans. Waterborne diseases are caused by pathogenic microorganisms which are directly transmitted when contaminated drinking water is consumed. Contaminated drinking water, used in the preparation of food, can be the source of food borne disease through consumption of the same microorganisms. According to the World Health Organization, diarrheal disease accounts for an estimated 4.1% of the total DALY global burden of disease and is responsible for the deaths of 1.8 million people every year. It was estimated that 88% of that burden is attributable to unsafe water supply, sanitation and hygiene, and is mostly concentrated in children in

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