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High population density is greatest risk factor for water-linked diseases

ntamination and cause infection when humans consume contaminated water. A subset of these, called "water-carried" diseases, result from accidental ingestion of contaminated water in a recreational setting;

  • water-based (such as schistosomiasis), caused by parasites that spend part of their life in water;

  • water-related (such as malaria and trypanosomiasis), which need water for breeding of insects that act as vectors in transmitting disease to humans;

  • water-washed, caused by poor personal or domestic hygiene because no clean water is available; and

  • water-dispersed (such as Legionella), caused by infectious agents that thrive in water and enter the body through the respiratory tract.

    Among the reported outbreaks, 70.9 percent were water-borne diseases, 2.9 percent water-based, 12.2 percent water-related, 6.8 percent water-washed, and 7.3 percent water-dispersed. Almost half were caused by bacteria, with nearly 40 percent caused by viruses and the rest by parasites.

    The analysis also showed that fewer water-washed diseases occurred in places with larger bodies of surface water, and that areas with higher average annual rainfall had fewer outbreaks of water-borne and water-related diseases.

    "No single factor can explain this distribution," Liang said. "And for different categories of diseases, the impact of those factors varies. This is the first time we've had large-scale proof of that.

    "At this point, we've identified all of the reported outbreaks, but not every socio-environmental factor that influenced them."

    The model predicts that Western Europe, Central Africa and Northern India are at higher risk for water-borne diseases, especially E. coli diarrhea, and that the risk in Europe is primarily driven by water-carried diseases that tend to occur in recreational areas. Western Europe, North Africa and Latin America tend to be at higher risk for water-w

  • Contact: Song Liang
    Ohio State University

    Page: 1 2 3 4

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