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30 June 2017 - Follow hygienic practices to keep away from water borne diseases

 Safe drinking-water is vital for good health. Water used for drinking, teeth cleaning, hand washing, bathing, showering, food preparation and cooking needs to be free from chemicals and harmful germs, which may lead to water borne diseases. The information was shared by Dr. R.S.Aulakh, Director, School of Public Health & Zoonoses, Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Ludhiana. He revealed that waterborne disease can be parasitic, bacterial and viral, many of which are intestinal pathogens. Many water borne diseases such as giardiasis, cryptosporidiosis, hepatitis A & E viral infections (jaundice), leptospirosis, typhoid, cholera and food poisonings can occur due to drinking of contaminated water in the rainy season. Infection commonly results when this contaminated water is used during bathing, washing, drinking, in the preparation of food, or the consumption of food thus infected. He said that according to the World Health Organization, diarrheal diseases account for an estimated 4.2% of the total daily global burden of disease and is responsible for the deaths of about 20 lacs people every year. It was estimated that 88% of that burden is attributable to unsafe water supply, sanitation and hygiene, and is mostly concentrated in developing countries.

The experts from the School of Public Health & Zoonoses have advised the public to be aware of the water-borne diseases that normally increase during the rainy season. During this season, blockage and overflow of sewage pipes is a major source of contamination of drinking water supply. Further, the resulting stagnant waters act as breeding grounds for mosquitoes leading to increased risks of mosquito transmitted diseases such as dengue, malaria etc. Therefore, people should take preventive measures like ensuring that water does not get accumulated in and around their houses.

Moreover, water storage tanks may be a major source of contamination, with tank vents, and fill pipes as the major culprits behind storage tank contamination, through which insects and airborne bacteria can enter. Periodic maintenance and disinfection of the household water storage tank is necessary to preserve water quality. The experts from GADVASU have recommended that the water tank be sanitized at least twice a year, and water should be periodically tested for the presence of bacteria and other contaminants.

In addition, water purifiers or filters installed in houses should be of reputable quality. There should be proper maintenance of filters; as the filters may act as a potential source of microbial contamination of water, if properly not cleaned from time to time.

In case of any doubt, the water sample should be got tested from authorized laboratories. Such facility is also available at the School of Public Health and Zoonoses in the university. Thus, a significant amount of disease could be prevented through better access to safe water supply, adequate sanitation facilities and better hygiene practices.


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