What Waterborne Diseases

Untreated waters contain a number of harmful pollutants which give the water color, taste, and odor. These pollutants include viruses, bacteria, organic materials, and soluble inorganic compounds, and these must be removed or rendered harmless before the water can be used again. A breakdown of the documented outbreaks identifies acute gastroenteritis, hepatitis shigellosis, ciardiasis, chemical poisoning, typhoid fever, and salmonellosis. Sources of contaminated water can be traced to sernipublic water systems, municipal water systems, and to individual water systems.

In cell culture, it has been shown that one virion can produce infection. In the human host, because of acquired resistance and a variety of other factors, the one virion/one infection possibility does not exist.

Very little is known of the epidemiology of waterborne diseases. The current database is insufficient to determine the scope and intensity of the problem. The devastating effect of epidemics is sufficient to rank water-associated epidemics as a most important public health problem.

Viruses and bacteria may be eliminated by chemical methods or by irradiation, and organic poisons may also be controlled. Inorganic matter must be removed by other means.

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