Waterborne Disease- World’s Leading Life-Threat

The consumption of contaminated water causes waterborne diseases. However, this disease is a significant concern in less developed countries, but it is also a significant life-threatening disease in developed countries.

This disease is mainly transmitted by drinking water contaminated by pathogenic microorganisms like Bacteria, Protozoa, Fungus, and various others. In most waterborne diseases, people experience diarrhea, resulting in dehydration and even severe health issues leading to death.

According to several records, annually 3.4 million people lost their lives globally due to waterborne diseases, and in India, around 80% of death occurs due to waterborne diseases. According to the government data records, over 5 years to 2017, only four waterborne diseases, Diarrhea, Typhoid, Cholera, and Viral Hepatitis, has killed 10,738 peoples.

In reply to the Lok Sabha on April 6, 2018, minister for Health And Family Welfare, Jai Prakash Nadda, Diarrhea is the leading killer that causes 60% of all deaths in India. And according to the report published on IndiaSpend, India loses 73 million working days due to waterborne diseases on June 21, 2016.

According to the various government data, India registers 69.14 million cases of four waterborne diseases over five years to 2017. So we need to be careful to live a waterborne disease-free life. Waterborne diseases are most vulnerable among children and old-aged persons as their immune systems do not function properly.  

Waterborne Disease Cases & Death Reported In India

Diseases

Years

 

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

 

Case

Death

Case

Death

Case

Death

Case

Death

Case

Death

Diarrhea

1,14,13,610

1,629

1,17,48,631

1,137

1,29,13,606

1,353

1,41,66,574

1,555

92,30,572

840

Typhoid

16,50,145

387

17,36,687

425

19,37,413

452

22,15,805

511

14,93,050

286

Viral Hepatitis

1,10,125

574

1,38,554

400

1,40,861

435

1,45,970

451

98,086

283

Cholera

1,130

5

844

5

913

4

718

3

385

3

Source – Lok Sabha

Top 5 Indian State With High Number Of Acute Diarrheal In 2017

What Are The Major Causes Of Waterborne Diseases?

One of the most significant causes of waterborne disease is the drinking of polluted and contaminated water. According to the 2011 Census data, around 63% of households in rural areas in India do not have access to pure and healthy water.

Every fifth household in a rural area travels 500m to get access to contaminated free water. In states like Jharkhand, Odisha, and Madhya Pradesh, around 35% of households travel more than half a kilometer for clean drinking water. This is survey is also supported by the Indian Human Development Survey, which surveyed 43,158 Indian households.

This condition is not good is an Urban area as well because, in Urban area, 20% of household spend more than 30 minutes to reach the water source, but in summer, this percentage rises by 15%. So in summer, 36% of households spend more than 30 minutes to get clean water.

Types Of Waterborne Disease

A waterborne disease is mainly classified into various types based on the causative agents. Here we have tabulated some of the crucial waterborne diseases and the causative agent and mode of transmission.

S. No

Disease Name

Causative Agent

Mode Of Transmission

Mode Of Infection

1

Diarrhea

Bacteria

Faeces

Oral

2

Typhoid

Bacteria

Faeces/Urine

Oral

3

Cholera

Bacteria

Faeces

Oral

4

Hepatitis A & E

Viral

Faeces

Oral

5

Giardiasis

Protozoal

Faeces

Oral

6

Bacterial Dysentery

Bacteria

Faeces

Oral

7

Paratyphoid Fever

Bacteria

Faeces

Oral

8

Threadworm/Pinworm

Parasitic

Anal

Oral

9

Roundworm

Parasitic

Faecal

Oral

10

Whipworm

Parasitic

Faecal

Oral

Source: Adapted from Nwabor Ozioma Forstinus et al (2016) Water and Water Borne Diseases: A review, International Journal of TROPICAL DISEASE & Health, 12(4), 1-14 and NDMC (2017) Prevention and Control of Water Borne Diseases: Action Plan – 201

Diarrhea

It is one of the most common waterborne diseases, which is characterized by loose, watery loose stool or frequent need to have a bowel movement. Usually, this lasts a few days and disappear without any treatment. However, diarrhea can be both acute and chronic. 

Acute diarrhea mainly occurs when the condition automatically lasts for one or two days. This can be due to viral and bacterial infection, or sometimes it can be due to food poisoning. Acute diarrhea is pretty common, especially during vacations when you haven’t accessed pure and healthy water or food. And this is the reason why acute diarrhea is also known as Traveler’s Diarrhea. 

Chronic diarrhea is a kind of diarrhea that last for at least 4 week, and this form of diarrhea mainly occurs due to the intestinal disease or disorder like Celiac disease or Crohn’s disease. Chronic diarrhea can be fatal if not treated on time. Drinking contaminated water and consuming uncooked or unclean food can be the one reason for chronic diarrhea. 

What Are The Causes Of Diarrhea?

There are a various condition that can lead to diarrhea, but here we have listed some of the potential cause of diarrhea, and that are

  • A food intolerance and food allergy 
  • It May be due to the side effects of certain medicine
  • Due to a viral infection
  • Bacterial infection can also lead to the diarrheal diseases
  • It can be the result of intestinal disease
  • It May be due to the parasitic infection
  • May occurs due to the gallbladder or stomach surgery
  • In children, Rotavirus can also lead to the diarrhea

Note- Chronic diarrhea can be the symptom of more chronic disorders like irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel diseases. 

Few Symptoms Of Diarrhea

There are various kinds of diarrheal symptoms, but the diarrheal symptoms may depend upon the cause of diarrhea. Below we have listed some of the signs, and you may experience any of them

  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Cramping
  • Bloating
  • Dehydration
  • A fever
  • Bloody stool
  • Frequent urge to evacuate your bowel
  • A large volume of stool 

Note- If you are experiencing any of the above-listed symptoms, then visit your doctor and talk with them

How To Prevent Diarrhea?

As we have discussed in the above section that diarrhea can occur due to various reason, and to prevent it, you can take multiple action below are some top reasons which you can adopt to prevent diarrhea 

  • Avoid eating uncooked food 
  • Wash your food items before you cook
  • Drink only pure and contamination-free water
  • Leftover refrigerator promptly
  • Always frozen food in a refrigerator 


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