Water Borne Diseases


Water-Borne Diseases

Water-Borne diseases is a concerning and growing issue worldwide. These diseases are caused due to pathogenic micro-organisms that transmitted through water. According to the World Health Organisation causes 1.5 million human deaths each year and estimates 3.6% of the total DALY (disability-adjusted life year) global burden of disease. The WHO estimates 58% of this burden or 842,000 deaths per year is due to lack of safe drinking water supply, sanitation and hygiene.

Common Water Borne Diseases

1. Typhoid: Typhoid is a fever caused by Salmonella Typhi, usually caused due to food washed with contaminated water. Some of its symptoms include prolonged headache, high fever, loss of appetite, nausea, constipation, joint pain and in most cases, diarrhoea. Once the virus of typhoid enters your bloodstream, it multiplies quickly leading to high fever. According to WHO, more than 161 000 die because of typhoid.

2. Cholera: Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal infection caused by water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholera. In its severest form, cholera may lead to dehydration, watery diarrhoea including death in a few hours, according to WHO each year  21 000 to 143 000 die worldwide due to cholera.

3. Hepatitis A: Hepatitis A is a liver disease caused by water contaminated with hepatitis A virus (HAV). The common symptoms of the disease are nausea, severe abdominal pain, fatigue and low-grade fever. It also causes jaundice, yellow skin, dark urine and severe vomiting. WHO estimates that hepatitis A caused approximately 7 134 deaths in 2016 (accounting for 0.5% of the mortality due to viral hepatitis).

4. Dysentery: Dysentery is caused by Shigella species (bacillary dysentery) or Entamoeba histolytica (amoebic dysentery). It causes bloody diarrhoea, i.e. any diarrhoeal episode in which the loose or watery stools contain visible red blood. Dysentery causes inflammation in your intestine that can lead to severe abdominal pain, diarrhoea and high fever.

5. Trachoma: Trachoma is a disease caused by a bacteria called Chlamydia trachomatis. The inner layer of your eyelids get rough and causes severe pain, cornea or in worse cases even blindness. It is estimated that trachoma and trichiasis cause up to US$ 8 billion annually due to lost productivity from blindness and visual impairment. 

6. Arsenicosis: Drinking water contaminant with arsenic over a long period leads to arsenic poisoning or Arsenicosis. It causes drowsiness, severe headaches, confused state of mind, severe diarrhoea. A person having Arsenicosis will have muscle cramps, excess saliva, bloody urine, severe hair loss, excessive sweating and vomiting. 

7. Shigella: The person having shigella will suffer from bloody stools and severe diarrhoea. It is caused by a bacteria called shigella and spread when a person does not wash their hands after changing a child’s diaper, or it can also be passed through contaminated food. 

8. Malaria: Malaria is one of the significant causes of death in India. It is caused by a parasite that is transmitted to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. According to WHO, in 2018, there were an estimated 228 million cases of malaria worldwide. The estimated number of malaria deaths stood at 405 000 in 2018.

9. Lead poisoning: The water contaminated with lead can lead to lead poisoning. It can cause organ damage, high blood pressure and kidney-related problems. 

10. Polio: Polio or Poliomyelitis or infant paralysis highly infectious viral disease that primarily affects children under five years of age. This disease affects a person’s spinal cord, thereby causing muscle weakness and in extreme cases, paralysis. However, India has gained control over this disease, and it is now a rarely occurring phenomenon.