Waterborne diseases are the greatest constraints in the path of advancement for most of the developing countries of the world. This goes without saying that India is not an exception to it. As you traverse the distance from North to South India, you will slowly experience the drastic changes in the availability of water which is one of the root causes for the spread of this type of diseases.
There are places where you will find an abundance of water and there are also locations where the residents have to put up with a daily struggle to acquire it. Underlying this factor of water availability lies the issue of the waterborne diseases.
Drinking of contaminated water is said to be the major source of these waterborne diseases. Today, this is a global issue with more than 3.3-3.5 million deaths from all over the world. An appalling figure of more than 80 percent of the deaths have been recorded in India that is caused by these waterborne ailments.
How Do These Ailments Spread?
Contaminated water consumption leads to the waterborne diseases among many. Pathogenic microorganisms and bacteria breed in the contaminated water. The microorganisms that play a vital role in the formation of waterborne diseases are viruses, bacteria, protozoa and intestinal parasites.
As an individual drinks the contaminated water, these microorganisms infect them. While some of these ailments give rise to some minor uncomfortable symptoms that are not very difficult to cure, there are also some others that can lead to fatal consequences.
When there is a lack of proper treatment, like in the rural areas, these become a threat to life. Now let us have a look at the various diseases that are included under this category.
Varieties of Water-borne Diseases
Here are some of the major water-borne diseases that affect people from all over the country. They are enlisted below like the following –
Diseases Caused by Protozoa–
- Giardiasis – The symptoms include fever, abdominal discomfort/ pain as well as diarrhoea.
- Cryptosporidiosis – The symptoms include weight loss, abdominal discomfort and diarrhoea.
- Amaebiasis – The symptoms include weight loss, abdominal discomfort, diarrhoea and fatigue.
Diseases Caused by Virus –
- Viral gastroenteritis – The symptoms include headache, diarrhoea, fever, vomiting and gastrointestinal discomfort.
- Hepatitis – The symptoms include abdominal discomfort/ pain, fever, jaundice, chills and dark urine.
Diseases Caused by Bacteria –
- Shigellosis – Symptoms include fever, diarrhoea, and blood in stool.
- Campylobacteriosis – The symptoms include abdominal discomfort/ pain, fever and diarrhoea.
- Cholera – The symptoms include fever, vomiting, diarrhoea and muscle cramps.
- Typhoid fever – The symptoms include an abdominal rash, fever, loss of appetite, nausea, constipation/ diarrhoea, vomiting and headache.
Transmission of the Disease
The drinking systems in India often get contaminated by the urine and faeces of the infected people and animals, runoffs from sewer pipes, landfills, residential or industrial developments wastage and septic fields.
This contamination occurs when the polluted creeks, rivers, rain and lakes are the sources of water that feed the private and public systems of water. Another way by which these diseases spread are by consuming infected food or from a person’s hands that is untidy. The flies can also spread germs and contaminate the food and water.
How to Control the Spread of The Water-borne Diseases
The only way of breaking the continued transmission of diseases is by imbibing hygienic behaviour and by ensuring that people get their basic requirements like
- Clean Drinking Water
- Washing facilities
- Bathing facilities
Apart from that, here are some basic tips that will help you to stay safe and away from these diseases.
- Drink only filtered or boiled water
- Don’t rely on bottled water blindly. It has an expiry date and so you should check it before consuming. Moreover, also ensure that the bottle is being stored in a cool and dry place out of direct sunlight.
- Water containers and jars should be washed on a daily basis.
- At the time of drinking from a public water system, make sure you check the water and read the EPA guidelines thoroughly.
- Always wash your hands prior to preparing meal and eating. The kids should also be taught to wash their hands prior to having anything.
- Do not ever expose your water supply with harmful chemicals and pesticides. These can create or give rise to waterborne diseases.
- Wash the food thoroughly before cooking.
- Ensure that the tanks and the pipes that supply water to the house are properly cleaned and well-maintained.
- In order to avoid spreading, people detected with water-borne disease after recording high temperature reading on a quality digital thermometer or any other of the symptoms mentioned above should not venture outside or go to any other place including work.
Though the water-borne diseases are a serious problem in India there is still hope. The outbreaks of these fatal ailments can be contained by maintaining and updating the water treatment standards and practices all over the country. Keep the above precautions in mind so that you can ensure a healthy life for yourself and your loved ones.