Clean and germ-free drinking water is very essential for personal and public health. Contamination of potable (drinking) water can cause water borne diseases in several ways:
- Sewage if improperly disposed of, leaks into sub soil and may contaminate water supplies.
- People defecating and urinating near lakes, rivers or ponds may contribute to contamination of water.
- Animal wastes and washings from dairies, poultries etc. may also be drained into water bodies.
- Industrial wastes containing mercury causes abnormalities in the nervous system
- Tannery wastes contain the pathogen anthrax bacilli and are the most serious water pollutants.
- Pesticides especially DDT are most serious water pollutants, pesticide concentration in human cause hormonal imbalance, leading to cancer.
- Presence of fluorides in drinking water cause tooth disorders, bone disorder and in higher concentration it causes neuro-muscular disorders and may be fatal to life.
In case the water supply agencies are not very cautious in purifying water, the residents of the area may suffer from three common diseases - Cholera, typhoid and dysentery which may take the form of severe epidemics.
1. Cholera - The main points are as follows:
- Infection of intestinal tract is by bacillus Vibrio cholerae.
- It appears as sudden onset with sickness and severe diarrhea and vomiting.
- No urination due to shortage of water in the body, urea accumulates in the blood which is highly poisonous and causes death.
- This organism enters our body through contaminated water and food. It establishes in the lining of large intestine where it feeds by engulfing red blood cells of the patient's intestine. This amoeba has no contractile vacuole and bears one large blunt pseudopodium.
- When fully mature it forms cysts which pass out through faeces. The cysts remain active for a long time. On reaching a new host through contaminated water and food they split off to clear new individual.
Preventive methods include good sanitation, killing flies, keeping the food and cut fruits properly covered to prevent flies reaching them, boiling water for drinking and eating well-cooked food. Immunization by taking injection will be useful.
Tips and comments
Patients need to be treated promptly and properly.
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