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Environmental Health - Information - Waterborne Diseases

 

Alphabetical listing of waterborne diseases.

Cryptosporidiosis

A diarrheal disease caused by a parasite that lives in human and animal intestines. The parasite can survive outside the body for a long time and resist chlorine disinfection. One mouthful of contaminated water can cause infection.

E coli 157:H7

A strain of bacteria that causes severe diarrhea with bleeding and abdominal cramps. Primarily spread through uncooked meat, it can be contracted by swimming in contaminated water.

Giardiasis

A diarrheal illness caused by a parasite that lives in the intestines of people and animals. One of the most common causes of waterborne disease in the United States, it is contracted by mouth contact with feces contaminated water.

Hepatitis A

Caused by a virus, this disease may be spread by contact with water contaminated with human feces or by people who did not wash their hands properly. Symptoms include fever, loss of appetite and nausea, although children younger than 3 may not have symptoms but can still spread the virus.

Leptospirosis

A bacterial disease that could include high fever, severe headache, chills and vomiting. Untreated, it can cause kidney or liver damage, meningitis and in rare cases death. Caused by exposure to water contaminated with the urine of infected animals.

Naegleria fowleri

An amoeba that causes primary amoebic meningoencephalitis, a rare disease that is almost always fatal. The amoeba, found normally in the sediment of many Florida lakes, becomes infectious at temperatures from 82 to 86 degrees and higher.

Shigellosis

A bacterial disease that causes diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps and is spread by contact with fecal material.

Swimmer's itch

A skin rash caused by an allergic reaction to parasites found in birds and mammals that is spread by snails. The parasites are found in salt water and fresh water. Burning and itching symptoms may get worse with more exposure.

Viral gastroenteritis

Watery diarrhea and vomiting caused by a number of viruses, such as Norwalk virus. May be spread by swallowing water contaminated by infected individuals.

 


Page last updated: 07/9/13