Waterborne diseases are an illness that is caused due to the consumption of contaminated drinking water, which contain pathogenic microorganisms. Presence of harmful micro-organisms polluted the water and drinking such contaminated water causes millions of deaths every year. In most of the developing nations, waterborne diseases are the main cause of childhood deaths, especially from diarrhea. Waterborne diseases are contagious to health and its prevention requires high standards of hygiene and sanitation.
Waterborne diseases can be spread through several sources and are enormously harmful to your health. This can lead to severe illness and may even be fatal. Typhoid, cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery, and hepatitis are some of the extensive waterborne diseases. In order to be aware of the ways to avoid such diseases, it is essential to know the causes and effects of waterborne diseases.
How Waterborne Disease Transmits?
Waterborne diseases can be transmitted through different sources but, there are few common means through which the diseases can be transmitted and these are mentioned below:
- Drinking contaminated water or unfiltered water
- Practice excreting in the open
- Eating uncovered food and other items
- Waterborne diseases can be transmitted by flies as well
Causes of Waterborne Diseases
Before examining the harmful diseases that are caused due to water pollution, let us classify the microorganisms that have been identified as one of the primary causes of such harmful diseases.
Water is a natural home for different types of bacteria and E. coli 0157 H7 is considered the most harmful of all the disease-causing bacteria that have been identified. It produces toxins that can destroy human intestinal cells and also anemia.
Viruses – Hepatitis A and Norwalk Virus
A virus is said to be inactive if it is free from a living host cell, but it survives even in severe environmental conditions. Once they are able to find a living host, they become active and capable of rapid reproduction, which infects the cells of the attached host. Viruses have only one type of nucleic acid (DNA) and can survive at room temperature while attached to human hands, food and objects. Hepatitis A virus is one of its type that gets transmissible through stool contamination or fecal and spreads in places with lack of proper sanitation or observance of personal hygiene.
Another harmful and common type of viral pathogen is the Norwalk Virus that becomes active during winter as it causes ‘stomach flu” or the “Winter Vomiting Disease”. The name Norwalk was taken from Norwalk, Ohio, the place where the virus was first identified in link with the outbreak of waterborne diseases.
Protozoa is commonly found in large bodies of water and have been recognized to be larger in size than the bacteria and viruses. They can survive in the toughest environmental conditions due to their ability to hide a cystic covering that provides them protection from water disinfectants.
Effects of Waterborne Diseases
Drinking of impure water can cause several deadly waterborne diseases that can be harmful to health. Some of the effects of diseases that are caused due to water pollution are mentioned below:
- Cholera: Cholera is one of the infectious diseases that can cause severe watery diarrhea which can lead to dehydration and even death if untreated. It is caused by eating food or drinking water contaminated with a bacterium called Vibrio cholerae.
- Diarrhea: Diarrhoea is regarded as a concomitant of different infectious diseases, especially typhoid fever or amoebic dysentery. The disease is caused by a host of bacterial, viral and parasitic organisms that can be spread due to the consumption of contaminated water.
- Typhoid: Typhoid causing elements are transmitted by consumption of contaminated food or water. Direct fecal, eating raw fruit and vegetables fertilized by human excreta can be the reason causing Typhoid.
- Dysentery: Dysentery is an inflammation of the intestine that can cause frequent passage of feces with blood and mucus. Dysentery is mainly spread by fecal contamination of food and water or when you stay in an area that has poor sanitation.
In addition to the above mentioned waterborne diseases, there are many others on the list and these are Lead poisoning, Polio, Malaria, Cancer, Hepatitis and even Food poisoning.
Ways to Avoid Waterborne Diseases
Now that when you have known the causes and effects of waterborne diseases, you should also know how to prevent yourself from such waterborne diseases. All you need to do is to follow some necessary precautions. The first thing that you should do is to ensure that the quality of water is good for consumption. You can also follow a few common household ways that would help you avoid waterborne diseases and these are mentioned below:
- Make sure to boil water that would kill most microorganisms and other pathogens
- Wash your hands properly before eating
- Always keep your fingernails short and clean
- Avoid consuming foods and fruit juices from the roadside vendors
- Always close the foods and beverages that you cook
In addition to these, make sure that you always drink pure and filtered water. Never drink tap water without filtering as a lot of microorganisms would be present in it and this can cause severe health problems. Drinking contaminated water can make you ill and you might fall prey to deadly waterborne diseases. So, in order to stay protected from waterborne diseases try installing an RO water purifier at your home. This will help you drink 100% pure, clean and safe water.
Waterborne diseases are a serious risk concern and this can expose your loved ones to a variety of potential health conditions. By just following the above mentioned preventive measures you can ensure that you and your family can remain safe from deadly waterborne illnesses. Always drink pure, clean and filtered water.