Types of Water Borne Diseases: What Are Its Causes and Ways to Prevent Them

Water borne disease is caused by water contaminated with pathogenic microorganisms. The spread can occur through drinking water, bathing, or water used for preparing food. Today water borne disease is a major challenge the world over, especially in developing countries. 70 to 80 percent of all the illnesses in these countries are caused by water borne diseases.

Most water borne diseases is caused due to poor hygienic practices, overcrowding, poor sanitation and unsafe supply of drinking water. Pathogens involved in water borne illnesses are bacteria, viruses and parasites of which many of them are intestinal parasites. There is wide spectrum of symptoms of diseases caused from contaminated water. Diarrhea, fever, skin rashes, vomiting, stomach cramps, fatigue, dehydration are few important symptoms of diseases caused from water borne diseases.

Causes of water borne disease:

Water borne disease is caused as a result of contamination of water by pathogenic microorganisms. These germs can be bacteria, viruses, parasites etc. Contamination occurs in drinking water from urine and feces of infected humans and animals.

The common contamination route is likely to occur where the source of drinking water is from surface. This can be from rivers, lakes, creeks, ponds etc. The water from such source can get contaminated from urine and feces of infected humans or animals. Sometimes contaminations can also occur from septic tanks and sewer pipes that are close enough of drinking water resource.

Different types of water borne diseases:

Water borne diseases can be caused due to bacteria, viruses and protozoa. These germs enter in the body by drinking contaminated water in majority of cases. The microorganisms can also enter through cuts and open wounds, eyes and nose. Following are important water borne diseases:

  • Typhoid (bacterial)
  • Cholera (bacterial)
  • Hepatitis (viral)
  • Polio (viral)
  • Gastroenteritis (bacterial and viral)
  • Dysentery (bacterial)
  • Amebiasis (protozoa)
  • Guinea worm disease (parasitic infection)
  • coli infection (bacteria)
  • Otitis externa (from bacteria and fungus)

Prevention of water borne disease:

Water borne diseases are contagious and their foremost prevention method is to follow high standard of hygiene and sanitation. Water borne diseases such as typhoid, cholera, hepatitis, worm infestation, polio etc are extremely debilitating and some can be life threatening. They lower the immunity and intake of food which results in lack of nutrients and further deteriorate patient’s health. Hence prevention of water borne disease is extremely essential.

Following necessary precautions must be taken to prevent water borne diseases:

  • Improve the quality of water from the source itself. In some cases where the quality of water is doubtful, it must be disinfected before it is used for consumption.
  • People must practice proper sanitation and hygiene.
  • Boiled water at 100 degree centigrade kills all pathogens. Hence person drink water that is boiled and cooled. This water must be used also in food preparations.
  • Household items such as chlorine bleach and iodine tablets can be sued to disinfect drinking water.
  • Water in swimming pool must be disinfected regularly. Avoid swimming in rivers and creeks as they can be polluted with feces of humans and animals and become breeding ground for the pathogenic germs.
  • Water must be stored in clean containers. They must be washed daily before fling the water.
  • Ensure that pipes and water storage tanks are well maintained and cleaned properly.
  • While traveling, ensure drinking bottle water.
  • Take proper vaccinations while visiting to places that are prone to water borne infections. For example person must take vaccines before traveling to places where there are epidemics of cholera, typhoid, polio etc.
  • Person must wash his hands properly before eating.