Wastewater Treatment – Diseases Arising Out Of Polluted Water

Polluted water could result in four types of diseases: water borne, water washed, water based and water related.

Water borne diseases could get transmitted fecally or orally. Some are caused by bacteria; these include cholera and typhoid. Some others are caused by the phage virus or bacteriophages. Jaundice and infectious hepatitis are among these. Still others are the handiwork of protozoan. Amoebic meningo and amoebic dissentery are prime examples of these.

Water borne diseases can be prevented by either improving the quality of drinking water, or by preventing the use of water from unhygienic sources.

There are also some diseases that can be classified as water washed diseases, as these are spread from person to person using water as the medium. Skin diseases, leprosy and conjunctivitis rank among these. To prevent the spread of water washed diseases, you should improve access to a reliable domestic water supply, and also increase the quantity of water available for washing, cleaning, etc., so as to prevent sharing of the same water by many people.

Liver fluke and guinea worm diseases feature among water based diseases. Controlling snail populations, filtering the water using a fine mesh cloth, so as to remove larvae, cyclops or snails will help prevent these diseases, apart from disinfecting contaminated water.

Water related diseases refer to those spread by vector organisms. Malaria, filaria and dengue fever are prominent among these. These can be prevented by destroying breeding sites of insects. Also, you should try and decrease the need to visit these sites, and use mosquito nets while sleeping at night.

Diseases of biological origin arising out of polluted water include Dracunculiasis, which is a guinea worm infestation.

The disease afflicts adult humans, when fresh water crustaceans cyclops are in the larval stage.

The symptoms of the disease include a stinging or burning sensation felt by the person afflicted, before he or she perceives the appearance of a blister. The blister then ruptures and an ulcer forms when the affected area of the skin becomes wet. This happens when the female worm is about to discharge larvae on the skin surface. Nausea and vomiting could also coincide with the first appearance of the blister.

Other diseases of biological origin caused by polluted water are Schistosomiasis, Giardiasis, Cryptosporidiosis, Cyclospora, Naegleria, illness caused due to cyanobacteria, Cholera and other vibrios, Typhoid and Paratyphoid, Shigellosis (bacillany dysentery), Campylobacterios, Escherichia coli, Yersinia infections, Plesiomonas infections, Aeromonas infections, Pseudomonas infections, (aerobic, nonspore forming, gram negative bacilli), Melioidosis, Legionnaire’s disease, Leptospirosis, Mycobacterial disease, Tularaemia, Helicobacter infections, Viral hepatitis, Viral gastroenteritis, Enterovirus infections, including poliomyelitis, and Adenoviral infections.

Of these Schistosomiasis can prove occasionally fatal if Katayama fever, happens within 4 to 6 weeks of infection.

The symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and anorexia, flatulence and bloating. In some cases, as with illness caused due to cyanobacteria, skin rashes are common. In Cholera, renal and cardiac failure occurs due to dehydration. Tuberculosis and leprosy can result from Mycobacterial disease. Viral hepatitis manifests as jaundice.