Water borne diseases:

Lack of clean water supply, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) are major causes for the spread of waterborne diseases in a community

The main transmission mode for waterborne diseases is ingestion of contaminated water.

Diseases can be spread while bathing, washing, drinking water, or by eating food exposed to contaminated water.

These organisms are passed in the faeces of animals and infected people.

Signs and symptoms:

Common symptoms of waterborne illness are:

  • Diarrhoea (usually an acute onset of watery diarrhoea)
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Fever
  • Skin, ear or eye problems
  • Coughing and or shortness of breath.

Treatment:

  • Aggressive rehydration therapy
  • Antibiotic treatment should be given to all patients with moderate to severe dehydration
  • Anti-spasmodic treatment for cramps
  • Treatment for diarrhoea

What can you do:

Always use safe and clean water for drinking, washing food, washing clothes and bathing.

If bottled water is not available to you and you think your water may be contaminated, the following can help make it safe to drink:

  • Boiling: Place water in a clean container and boil it for at least 5 minutes.
  • Bleach: Add 1 tsp of household bleach (containing 5% chlorine) to 20-25 litres of water. Leave it to stand (in a clean, closed container) for at least half an hour before use.                                                                       
  • Water purification tablets: These can be bought at your local pharmacy.

Store safe water in a clean, closed container.

Use a clean cup each time to scoop water from the container or pour water directly from the container when you need it.

Always practice good hand hygiene. Wash hands with soap and water after going to the toilet, before cooking, and before eating. Sanitiser is recommended for hand hygiene.

Use clean and safe water for cooking. Wash foods before eating. And cook foods thoroughly.