Water-Borne-Diseases

Water is one of the most essential resources available on the earth’s surface. Clean water is required for all purposes: drinking, cooking, and bathing. With the increasing population in the country, not everyone has the access to clean water. Therefore, many people in our country live in poor sanitation and unhygienic conditions. These adverse conditions give rise to water borne diseases. In this article, let’s study the most common water borne diseases prevalent in India, their causative agent, symptoms, and treatment.

What are water borne diseases?

Water borne diseases are a group of diseases that get transmitted through contaminated water or food or by coming in contact with faeces containing the harmful viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens. Water Borne diseases are one of the most common illnesses occurring in India. According to India’s planning commission, 85% of India’s population is covered by the water infrastructure. Diarrhoea has been stated as the major factor for the death of around 400000 to 500000 children below the age of 5 years. The reported cases of viral hepatitis is around 12 cases in 100000 people.

According to the report from the World health organisation (WHO) and UNICEF, the unhygienic living conditions and poor water quality are the main contributing causes of water borne diseases in India. Also according to the Central Bureau of Health Intelligence India, the incidences of water borne diseases like enteric fever, cholera, viral hepatitis and diarrhoea have remained static over the past decade. Skeletal fluorosis is also a common condition occurring among the Indian population because more than 25 million people across the country consume water having fluoride levels above the permissible limit.

What are the types of water borne diseases?

There are various different water borne diseases occurring among the Indian population. The causative agent, symptoms, and treatment is different in different diseases. The detailed information about the most common water borne diseases in India is listed below.

Typhoid

According to study, the incidence of typhoid fever in children below the age of 5 years is 2 in every 1000 people per year and in children aged between 5-10 years, the incidence is around 5.1 per 1000 population per year.

Causative agent: Bacteria Salmonella typhi

Symptoms:

  • High fever
  • Muscle pain
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhoea
  • Constipation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Cough
  • Weight loss
  • Rashes on skin
  • Abdominal pain
  • Chills 

Treatment: 

  • Antibiotics 
  • Oral fluids
  • IV
  • Surgery

Cholera

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the cases of cholera in iNdia is around 3 to 5 million that accounts for around 100000 to 130000 deaths per year.

Causative agent: Bacteria Vibrio cholerae

Symptoms: 

  • Frequent stools that are loose
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea
  • Frequent thirst
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain

Treatment: 

  • Rehydration 
  • IV fluids
  • Antibiotics 
  • Zinc supplements

Malaria 

According to the World Malaria Report 2019, India contributes around 3% in the global malaria burden.

Causative agent: Female Anopheles mosquito

Symptoms:

  • High fever
  • Chills
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Continuous sweating
  • Diarrhoea
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Weakness 
  • Bloody stools
  • Convulsions

Treatment:

  • Drugs and medicines

Giardiasis 

Giardiasis is one of the main causes of diarrheal disease that ranges from around 0.4% to 70% cases in India.

Causative agent: Parasite Giardia lamblia

Symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Discomfort 
  • Weight loss
  • Headache 
  • Fatigue 
  • Tiredness 

Treatment: 

  • Anti-parasitic drugs

Hepatitis A

According to a study, the cases of hepatitis A in India is around 3.4% to 12.3% in people less than 15 years of age, and around 27% to 62% in people between 13-20 years of age.

Causative agent: Hepatitis A virus

Symptoms:

  • Yellowish skin
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Abdominal pain
  • Body pain
  • Light colored stools
  • Weakness 
  • Dark urine
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss

Treatment:

  • Rehydration 
  • Consuming home cooked food
  • Avoid alcohol

Shigellosis

Shigellosis is an intestinal infection that affects approximately 140 million people across the globe and around 60000 deaths per year.  

Causative agent: Shigella bacterIa

Symptoms:

  • Stomach pain
  • Fever
  • Frequent diarrhoea
  • Blood in stools
  • High fever
  • Excessive thirst
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea 

Treatment

  • Rehydration
  • Antibiotics

Amoebiasis 

According to the National Health Portal of India, the cases of amoebiasis across the country is about 15% of the country’s population.

Causative agent: Protozoan Entamoeba histolytica

Symptoms:

  • Loose stools
  • Fatigue 
  • Stomach cramps
  • Weight loss
  • Excessive flatulence
  • Blood in stools

Treatment:

  • Medicines

Takeaway 

Water Borne diseases are one of the most commonly occurring diseases in INdia. It is very important to follow good hygiene and keep ourselves and our surroundings clean so that we can prevent the spread of such diseases. Now that you know the major diseases occurring in India and the symptoms associated with these diseases, you will better be able to analyse whether or not you are affected by water borne disease.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

      1. How can I protect myself from water borne diseases?

        You can prevent the occurrence of water borne diseases by following some simple tips like:

        • Keep your environment and surroundings clean
        • Practice good personal hygiene
        • Take food safety precautions
        • Consume clean water only
      2. How are water borne diseases caused?

        The water borne diseases are caused by

        • Drinking contaminated water
        • Lack of proper hygiene and sanitation
        • Aquatic invertebrate organism
        • Insects that propagate on water
      3. How are water borne diseases classified?

        Various categories of water borne diseases are:

        • Water borne microbiological disease
        • Water hygiene disease
        • Water borne chemical disease
        • Water vector habitat disease
        • Water contact disease
        • Water aerosol disease
        • Excreta disposal disease
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Dr. Divya Rohra has completed her MBBS from Grant Medical College and Sir JJ Group of Hospitals, Mumbai in 2019 with an excellent academic and clinical record. She has been the Joint Academic & Research Secretary of her batch in the year 2016-17 and successfully conducted various conferences and CMEs at her college. She has been the Director of Editorial and Web Communications of Rotaract Club of the Caduceus for two years. She has worked as a Paediatrics House Officer and Covid-19 Medical Officer at Mumbai. She has participated in various Quiz competitions, Poster Presentations, Symposia, Medical Documentary making competitions during her UG days and won awards for the same. She is working with PregaJunction as a Medical Content Auditor.

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