Top 10 Waterborne Diseases that can be Caused by Polluted Water

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Water is often referred as the elixir of life. Life could not have existed on the planet earth in the absence of water. Water, in its purest form, is a blessing for all life forms. But due to water pollution and contamination, it can also cause severe infections and diseases due to the lack of proper sanitation, water supply and management, and that particularly more in summer and rainy seasons. A report by the United Nations says that more than three million people in the world die of water related diseases due to contaminated water each year, including 1.2 million children. These waterborne diseases are mainly caused by impure groundwater and freshwater supplied by the municipal corporations infected due to high concentrations of iron, fluoride, leading to fluorosis, salinity and arsenic, which leads to arsenicosis, exceeding the tolerance levels.

Here is a list to the top ten waterborne diseases in terms of their incidences worldwide:


1. Cholera


Cholera is characterised by muscle cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea. Being dirrheal in nature, it can kill the infected person within hours if left unattended. The deadly disease is caused due to ingestion of water infected with the Vibrio Cholerae bacterium and is spread by faecal contamination of food and water. It can very quickly cause electrolyte imbalance and dehydration of the body tissues and is also known as “Blue Death” because the patient’s skin turns bluish gray due to excessive loss of body fluids and can result in mshifts.uscle cramping and weakness, altered consciousness, seizures, or even coma due to electrolyte losses and ion shifts.


2. Diarrhoea


Diarrhoea is defined by the World Health Organization as having three or more loose or liquid stools per day, or as having more stools than is normal for that person. This disease spreads through food and drinking water that has been contaminated and can last upto two weeks and leave the victim completely dehydrated. Oral Rehydration Solutions (ORS) with modest amounts of salts and zinc tablets are one of the best remedies to relinquish the body fluids of the infected person.


3. Malaria


Malaria is an often fatal disease spread by the Plasmodium parasite mosquito that breeds in water bodies like lakes, paddy, fish ponds and stagnant water and can kill those with a weak immunity. The causal protozoan of malaria are carried by the female Anopheles mosquito. The symptoms of the disease start appearing after about eight to twenty five days of infection and include headache, fever, muscular fatigue and pain, back pain, dry cough, nausea and vomiting, spleen enlargement and chills and excessive sweating. Malaria can be treated with anti-malarial medications given orally or through vaccinations.


4. Typhoid fever

Typhoid fever 

Typhoid is known by numerous names such as gastric fever, abdominal typhus, infantile remittant fever, slow fever, nervous fever and pythogenic fever.The bacterium that causes typhoid fever may be spread through poor hygiene habits and public sanitation conditions, and sometimes also by flying insects feeding on feces. characterised by fluctuating high fever,headache, constipation, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, abdominal rashes, exhaustion, sleepiness, diarrhoea, etc- spreads through contaminated food and water or via close contact with an infected person. The fever generally continues to peak for three weeks and then gradually subsids by the fourth and the fifth week.


5. Filariasis


It is a parasitic disease caused by , first documented in the 16th centuryby Jan Huyghen van Linschoten, that affects peopkle who live near unsanitary water bodies or sewages and its carriers are black flies and mosquitoes that breed in fresh and stagnant water bodies and are the host of the filarial nematode worm. This worm affects human adversely and leads to elephantitis. This particular disease is symptomised with edema with thickening of the skin and underlying tissues, having a more severe effect on the limbs. Also known as Lymphatic Filariasis, it can be diagnosed in amicrofilaraemic cases based on clinical observations and, in some cases, by finding a circulating antigen in the blood or by identifying microfilarae on a Giemsa stained thick blood film.


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