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Waterborne Bacterial Diseases

Clinical Features: A range of syndromes, including acute dehydrating diarrhea (cholera), prolonged febrile illness with abdominal symptoms (typhoid fever), acute bloody diarrhea (dysentery), and chronic diarrhea (Brainerd diarrhea). Common agents include Vibrio cholerae, Campylobacter, Salmonella, Shigella, and the diarrheogenic Escherichia coli.

Incidence: each year, an estimated 3-5 billion episodes of diarrhea result in an estimated 3 million deaths, mostly among children. Waterborne bacterial infections may account for as many as half of these episodes and deaths. Many deaths among infants and young children are due to dehydration, malnutrition, or other complications of waterborne bacterial infections.

Transmission: Contaminated surface water sources and large poorly functioning municipal water distribution systems contribute to transmission of waterborne bacterial diseases. Chlorination and safe water handling can eliminate the risk of waterborne bacterial diseases.

Risk Groups: Over 2 billion persons living in poverty in the developing world are at high risk. Sporadic cases are under-reported. CDC surveillance may detect a small proportion of outbreaks in the United States; outbreaks abroad are often missed.

Despite global efforts during the water and sanitation decade, improvements in water and sanitation infrastructure have barely kept pace with population increases and migrations in the developing world.

Centralized water treatment and distribution systems are expensive and take years to complete. To provide the under-served with potable water in the short term requires innovative practical solutions such as point-of-use disinfection and safe water storage vessels.

Source of information:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for Infectious Diseases
Division of Bacterial and Mycotic Diseases