Sources of contaminated drinking water are now far more common than ever before. As a result, harmful germs, chemicals, and parasites can enter a body of water from many sources. This includes pesticides, chemicals, and animal or human feces.
One of the most well-known cases of contaminated drinking water occurred in Camp Lejeune (1953-1987). Here, potentially one million people (military personnel and civilians) were exposed to contaminated water, with many recording diseases and health complications later in life.
If this is something you experienced, you can visit TruLaw.com to see if you have a legal case.
In addition to being generally very unsanitary, many health complications could potentially arise from consuming contaminated drinking water. Specifically, there are a couple of waterborne diseases caused by contaminated drinking water.
In this article, we will outline the top 5 most dangerous diseases of them all. Let’s jump straight in!
This is a highly infectious disease that primarily impacts the liver. This liver infection is either caused by contaminated drinking water or coming into close contact with someone with the infection.
When water sources are contaminated with feces taken from infected humans, this will likely spread HAV to others that drink the water.
Individuals living in areas with little to no hygiene management and extremely poor sanitation are at much higher risk of being exposed to this virus. The infection will usually subside in a matter of weeks but can eventually become severe and last for months if left untreated.
Symptoms of Hepatitis A include loss of appetite, jaundice, fever, weight loss, fatigue, and abdominal pain.
This bacterial disease mainly affects the intestinal tract. This is because the bacteria reside in the intestines (which are later shed via feces).
The majority of salmonella cases come from ingesting water or food contaminated with feces, however, consuming undercooked egg products, fruits, vegetables, and meat can also carry the disease.
When animals leave feces near water supplies it can then enter the supply and pollute it. Those with weakened immune systems are at more dangerous levels of risk when it comes to developing salmonella.
It’s a very dangerous disease and has many symptoms including diarrhea, severe dehydration, vomiting, and abdominal cramps.
Another dangerous – and often life-threatening – disease caused by drinking contaminated water is typhoid. It is estimated that up to 20 million people all over the world suffer from this particularly contagious bacterial infection every year.
Anyone suffering from typhoid can easily develop harmful bacteria in the intestinal tract or the bloodstream, resulting in a high and debilitating fever, weakness, stomach pains, and muscle aches.
To prevent yourself from getting typhoid in this way, you should aim to avoid drinking any type of water that isn’t sealed or bottled. Here, prevention is key.
This dangerous disease is mostly found in marginalized villages or humanitarian emergencies where poor sanitation and poverty are increasingly common. This infection primarily impacts the small intestine and is transferred by drinking water that has traces of feces in it.
Within hours or days of exposure to these bacteria, cholera can prove to be fatal. However, only one in ten people will develop a range of life-threatening symptoms. More common side effects of cholera include headaches, diarrhea, nausea, and dehydration.
This disease is known for its widespread and rapid growth in areas that have inadequate ways of treating drinking water and sewage.
Arguably one of the most dangerous diseases of them all, contaminated drinking water is also known to cause cancer in some cases. This is especially true for drinking water that is polluted with chemicals or chlorinated solvents including arsenic.
Such substances are carcinogenic which means they can make changes to DNA and eventually cause cancerous tumors. Higher levels of arsenic are a well-known cause of bladder cancer and have also been associated with lung and skin cancers.
Simply put, long-term exposure to contaminated drinking water has strong links with the development of different cancer types and skin lesions.
These are five dangerous diseases caused by contaminated drinking water that you simply must know about. We hope that you now understand what they are and a little bit about them.
It is pretty difficult to tell whether the water you are drinking is contaminated or not until it is too late, but you can prevent your exposure to such a feat by sticking to drinking bottled water only. There are also vaccines available if you are traveling to specific countries.