Water Borne Diseases: A Danger to Us
Water borne diseases is a serious issue that has been reported for many years. Contaminated drinking water was stated to be the source of waterborne diseases that kills more people than viruses alone. Some symptoms of these diseases are diarrhea, fever, and can lead to more severe cases. Water borne diseases is a serious problem and it needs to be dealt with. Water borne diseases are illnesses that are caused by unclean or contaminated water that can contain human waste or sewage that carry deadly pathogenic organisms. People get these from bathing in it, drinking it, washing, or eating food infected by it. On thewaterproject.org, explains that “in developing countries, as much as 80 percent of illnesses are linked to poor water and sanitation conditions.” It effects people in developing countries, especially young children. The killer diseases that are most common are cholera, giardiasis, gastroenteritis, and typhoid fever. As reported by Dr. Maria Neira, director of Public Health and Environment, “dirty water, inadequate sanitation, and lacking of hygiene takes lives of about 2.2 million children under the age of five (Hiscock 70). Although these look harmful, here is more insight into these diseases.
Cholera is a serious bacterial disease caused by an infection from the intestines by the
Bacterium Vibrio cholera. That happens when the cells on the lining of the intestines produces large amounts of fluids. It is caused by human or animal feces and sewage waste containing the bacteria finds its way into the water. Symptoms can range from none, to mild, or to very severe. Some symptoms that are stated is large amounts of watery diarrhea, which leads to severe dehydration and an electrolyte imbalance. This will result to have sunken eyes, cold skin, decreased skin elasticity, and wrinkling of hands and feet. Dehydration can result to the skin turning a bluish color. With contaminated food or water can create an outbreak in no matter of time. One website states in 2011 “more than 85,000 cases of cholera and 2,466 resulting deaths have been reported in West and Central Africa” (www.healthmap.org). This is where people don’t have access to clean water and they are getting it from rivers and lakes. In KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, a mother with too many children fell sick with stomach pains on Sept. 19, 2000. She passed away three days later from drinking unclean water from a lake where other children and adults bathe. This village is not the only place to have problems with cholera (Salina Flow for love of water). In New England Journal of Medicine, it states that “probably several million cases in Asia and Africa, with fewer cases in Latin America, with a case fatality rate of 4 percent, annual mortality of at least 40,000 to 100,000” (Sack 649). The chart to the left is a bar graph showing cholera cases found in the Americas, Asia and Africa around 1989-2009. From the looks of it, it seems that around the 1900’s there were more cholera cases in all three countries. Around 1991- 1995, cholera cases were found mostly in the Americas, with Africa in second and Asia in third. When you get towards the 2000’s, cholera cases decrease in the Americas and Asia, but an increase of these in Africa and it steadily rises through the decade (www.who.int). Therefore, cholera is dangerous, but not the only dangerous disease out there.
Gastroenteritis or “stomach flu” is an inflammation of the intestines and stomach. It is caused by “consumption of improperly prepared foods or contaminated water close to an infectious person” (www.who.int). Also, it is caused by, in children, the rotavirus and, in adults, the norovirus or Campylobacter, which is most common in most cases around the world. Some symptoms that comes with this is mild diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and cramps. This may result to dehydration. In children, it can