Waterborne diseases are caused by pathogenic microorganisms which are directly transmitted when contaminated fresh water is consumed. Contaminated fresh water, used in the preparation of food, can be the source of foodborne disease through consumption of the same microorganisms. According to the World Health Organization, diarrheal disease accounts for an estimated 4.1% of the total DALY (diability-adjusted life year) global burden of disease and is responsible for the deaths of 1.8 million people every year. It was estimated that 88% of that burden is attributable to unsafe water supply, sanitation and hygiene, and is mostly concentrated in children in developing countries.
Waterborne disease can be caused by protozoa, viruses, or bacteria, many of which are intestinal parasites.
Even before the establishment of the Germ theory of disease, traditional practices eschewed water in favor of beer, wine and tea. In the camel caravans that crossed Central Asia along the Silk Road, the explorer Owen Lattimore noted "The reason we drank so much tea was because of the bad water. Water alone, unboiled, is never drunk. there is a superstition that it causes blisters on the feet."
Parasitic Infections (Kingdom Animalia)
^ WHO | Burden of disease and cost-effectiveness estimates
^ Lattimore, "The caravan routes of inner Asia," The Geographical Journal 72.6 (1928:500), quoted in Frances Wood, The Silk Road: two thousand years in the heart of Asia 2002:19.
^ a b Nwachcuku N, Gerba CP (June 2004). "Emerging waterborne pathogens: can we kill them all?". Curr Opin Biotechnol. 15 (3): 175–80. PMID 15193323. http://env1.gist.ac.kr/~aeml/paper/papers(pdf)/27-waterborne_pathogens.pdf.
^ Dziuban EJ, Liang JL, Craun GF, Hill V, Yu PA, et al (22 December 2006). "Surveillance for Waterborne Disease and Outbreaks Associated with Recreational Water — United States, 2003–2004". MMWR Surveill Summ. 55 (12): 1–30. PMID 17183230. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss5512a1.htm.
^ Petrini B (October 2006). "Mycobacterium marinum: ubiquitous agent of waterborne granulomatous skin infections". Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 25 (10): 609–13. PMID 17047903.http://www.springerlink.com/content/7r65j4n6v54772h4/.
^ Nwachuku N, Gerba CP, Oswald A, Mashadi FD (September 2005). "Comparative inactivation of Adenovirus serotypes by UV light disinfection". Appl Environ Microbiol. 71 (9): 5633–6. PMID 16151167. PMC1214670. http://aem.asm.org/cgi/reprint/71/9/5633.pdf.
Journal of Water and Health, ISSN: 1477-8920, IWA Publishing