Water is necessary for life but can also be a disease carrier. Even in 2020, approximately 26% of the global population lacked access to safe drinking water. Given how advanced and sophisticated civilization has become, it is astonishing that more than a quarter of the world’s population lacks access to this basic necessity. Furthermore, people must make do with whatever water sources they have access to, forcing them to drink contaminated water. As a result, they are becoming increasingly vulnerable to waterborne diseases.
That being said, let us look at a few of the most common diseases that are spread by contaminated water.
Every year, between 21,000 and 143,000 people die from cholera. Worldwide, 114 cholera deaths have been reported as of February 2022. These deaths occurred primarily in developing countries, and while the number may appear small, it does not reduce the fact that this disease can be fatal. No country, rich or poor, is immune to cholera outbreaks.
Cholera is an acute, infectious intestinal disease that, if left untreated, can result in severe dehydration and death. It is caused by a small intestine bacterial infection, which is spread by contaminated water or food.
The cholera bacteria can be found in the intestines of humans and animals without causing symptoms; however, when ingested through contaminated water, it causes diarrhea and vomiting. Children are especially vulnerable to the disease because they lack the strength to combat its effects on their bodies.
If you suspect you have cholera after drinking contaminated water, seek medical attention immediately. Do not attempt self-medication. In addition to this medical intervention, ensure that anyone who comes into contact with you has been immunized against cholera before having further contact.
Dysentery is an infection of the intestine caused by Shigella bacteria. The disease causes violent diarrhea, fever, and stomach pain that can last several days.
Consumption of contaminated food or water spreads dysentery. It can also be applied by infected people who do not wash their hands before preparing food, especially if they have chronic dysentery. This disease is treated with antibiotics. However, it is advised that you avoid contact with other people until you have been treated to prevent the disease from spreading further.
3. Typhoid fever
The bacteria Salmonella typhi causes typhoid fever. It is spread from person to person and is transmitted through contaminated food or water. High fever, headache, loss of appetite, and constipation are all symptoms of typhoid.
Typhoid prevention includes using good handwashing techniques before handling food or drinks, purifying water before drinking it, avoiding raw foods, and so on.
4. Hepatitis A.
Hepatitis A is a virus that causes liver inflammation. Hepatitis is classified into two types: acute and chronic. Fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain are all symptoms of acute hepatitis. It can last anywhere from a week to two months.
Chronic hepatitis can go unnoticed for up to 20 years. Cirrhosis, or scarring of the liver, can result (in liver failure). The virus spreads via contaminated water or food handled by an infected person who fails to wash their hands after using the restroom (fecal-oral route).
Every year, millions of people are killed by cancer. Cancer claimed the lives of 10 million people in 2020 alone. Cancer remained one of the most lethal diseases, even though the world was dealing with a global pandemic. While cancer-related deaths have decreased by 27% in the last 20 years, the disease remains one of the deadliest.
Because cancer does not spread from person to person, contaminated water cannot spread the disease. However, it is the polluted water that is to blame. Such dirty water is derived from farmlands or industrial wastes that contain traces of toxic chemicals.
Drinking or using water contaminated with chemical products is highly likely to cause cancer. The Camp Lejeune Lawsuit will help you understand why this is the case. Many people have developed cancer due to the Camp Lejeune water contamination case. They all used to live in that area and were harmed by the water contamination. This incident is a stark reminder that water pollution can also result in cancer.
Polio is a highly contagious disease spread by contaminated water. It is caused by the poliovirus, which is spread through an infected person’s feces. When someone drinks contaminated water or consumes contaminated food, they can become infected and develop polio.
Polio can cause anything from mild weakness to severe paralysis and death. Polio causes weakness or total paralysis of muscles throughout the body by attacking nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control muscle function.
People who have not been vaccinated against polio or have had no previous exposure to it are most at risk of developing it. However, if you’ve had more than one polio vaccine recommended by your doctor, you are protected from this illness.
E. coli is a strain of bacteria that lives in both human and animal intestines. Although E. coli can cause diarrhea, it is usually not serious. Most people with this infection recover in a week or two without treatment. On the other hand, some strains of E. coli contain harmful chemicals (poisons) that cause severe disease and death in humans.
Salmonella is a bacterium that causes food poisoning. It is one of the most common sources of foodborne illness in the United States and can be transmitted through contaminated water.
Salmonella can be found in the intestines and feces of animals. You can become ill if you eat or drink something contaminated with Salmonella. Bacteria are passed from person to person.