Water Borne Diseases

Learn about Water Borne Diseases: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention.

What is Water Borne Diseases?

Water borne disease is a type of disease which is primarily spread by contamination of water. The Contamination can be by bacterial, viral or protozoal agent.


Water-borne Diseases: Any diseases that is transmitted through some water-borne agent. Any disease that can spread through contaminated water. The contamination can involve bacterial, viral or protozoan organisms.

Water Borne Diseases as the name suggest are spread and transmitted by contamination of water by any bacterial, viral or protozoal organisms. The infection manifests itself as cholera, diarrhea, dysentery, hepatitis A, giardiasis, etc. Infected water affects not only by ingestion but also by swimming or any other way in which it gains entry in the human body.

Commonly ingestion of water contaminated with animal or human faecal matter, causes water- borne diseases. Lack of hygiene and water-related sanitation are the main accountable factors for these diseases. According to WHO, around 2 billion people around the world, are affected by schistosomiasis.

What Causes Water Borne Diseases?

The most important cause of the disease is the contaminated or infected water largely responsible for the transmission of the ailment.

Bacterial Causes:

The water- borne diseases caused by bacteria are:

  • Campylobacteriosis caused by Campylobacter jejuni
  • Cholera caused by Vibrio cholera
  • Coli Infection  caused by Escherichia coli
  • Leptospirosis caused by Leptospira
  • Botulism or food poisoining caused by Clostridium botulinum.

Viral Causes:

The water- borne diseases caused due to viruses are listed as:

  • Gastroentritis caused by Adenovirus
  • SARS ( Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) caused by Coronavirus
  • Hepatitis A caused by HAV( Hepatitis A virus)
  • Polimyelitis due to Polio virus

Parasitis Infections:

The commonly occurring water-borne diseases caused due to parasitic infections are as below:

  • Schistosomiasis caused due to Schistosoma
  • Dracunculiasis caused due to Dracunculus medinensis
  • Taeniasis caused due to Taenia
  • Ascariasis caused due to Ascaris lumbricoides

What Risk Factors Water Borne Diseases?

The risk factors of the disease are those factors which apparently do not seem to be a direct cause but are related to it indirectly. Presence or absence of theses does not rule out the occurrence or absence of the disease.

Important Risk Factors are:

International Travel:

Travelling to places having contaminated water exposes us to the risk of getting infections and makes us susceptible to develop the diseases.

Rural Areas:

The water available on rural areas is generally contaminated due to lack of proper hygiene, so the chances of the disease are increased manifold.

Improper Sanitation:

Lack of proper sanitation is also significant in development of the various water borne diseases.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Water Borne Diseases?

The common symptoms of water- borne diseases are:

  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Fatigue
  • Flatulence
  • Weight loss
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever    
  • Wasting may be seen in immune


  • Waterborne Diseases (https://www.niehs.nih.gov/research/programs/geh/climatechange/health_impacts/waterborne_diseases/index.cfm)
  • Causes and Symptoms of Waterborne Illness (https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/waterborne/basics.html)