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Science - Water Borne Diseases

Water Borne Diseases and Prevention

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Water Borne Diseases and Prevention

What are Water Borne Diseases?

These are diseases which are spread through contaminated water. Contaminated water has germs that cause the diseases. For example, when a person who has cholera passes stool in a river, the water gets contaminated. A healthy person who takes this water without boiling catches cholera. Some water borne diseases are; cholera, typhoid, and bilharzia.

Contaminated River in Kenya
A contaminated River in Kenya (Photo:Courtesy)

Cholera

This is caused by a bacterium, and spreads when one uses contaminated water;
Some of the signs and symptoms of cholera include
  • Vomiting
  • Violent diarrhoea that looks like 'rice water'
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Dehydration of the body
  • Death within 24 hours if not treated
There are different ways of preventing cholera as follows;
  • Practising proper sanitation, including use of latrines or toilets
  • Boiling drinking water
  • Washing food eaten raw properly, such as fruits
  • Washing hands after visiting the toilet or latrine
  • Washing hands before eating food

Typhoid

This disease is spread through a bacterium that is spread through contaminated water.
Some of the signs and symptoms of typhoid include
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pains
  • Diarrhoea at a later stage
  • Pain in the joints and muscles
  • Fever
  • Skin rash
There are different ways of preventing typhoid as follows;
  • Drinking boiled or treated water
  • Proper cooking of food
  • Proper washing of fruits
  • Washing hands after visiting latrines
  • Washing hands before handling food
  • Proper disposal of faeces

Bilharzia

This disease is called by a worm called fluke. It is carried by fresh water snail. When one walks in water with bare feet, the worm enters the body through the skin. Bilharzia causing worms attack the bladder and the intestines.
Some of the signs and symptoms of bilharzia include
  • Skin rash
  • Itching of the bowels
  • Fever after sometime
  • Coughing and diarrhoea
  • Blood in stool and urine
There are different ways of preventing bilharzia as follows;
  • Wear gloves and gumboots when working in water
  • Destroy fresh water snails
  • Practice proper sanitation like use of latrines
  • Drain stagnant water

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