Campylobacter jejuni & Health

This is a bacterium that causes campylobacteriosis, a gut disease which is characterized by diarrhoea. Depending on how severe it is, the diarrhoea can be bloody. The patient also vomits, has fever, abdominal cramps and in severe cases will have convulsions. The illness is at times asymptomatic and will last a maximum of five days (Management of Waterborne Related Diseases p24). Campylobacteriosis is transmitted through the faecal-oral route. Poultry and cattle act as its reservoirs and faecal matter from the animals contaminate water, therefore one should ensure that meat is well cooked and always practice proper

sanitation. Incase of infection, the patient’s fluids are usually replaced. Giardia lamblia This parasite not only affects humans, but animals too; both wild and domesticated. It is protozoan in nature. It is an enteric parasite found in the small and large intestines. At times the G. lamblia has asymptomatic characteristics. The Giardia produces cysts which are its mode of transmission. The most common intestinal parasite known to man is the G. lamblia (Marshal et al, 1997; Waterborne Protozoan Pathogens p67-85). Once inside the host, the cyst defecates in the intestinal tract and then passed out through the host’s stool.

The cysts can survive for very long periods outside a host, especially in cold water. G. lamblia causes illnesses such as diarrhoea, stomach cramps, flatulence, weight loss stool that has mucus and bloody with a foul smell, fatigue, and vomiting. Like in other pathogens we have seen above, G. lamblia causes more severe illnesses in patients who have AIDS. Chlorination inactivates Giardia cysts. The best method of water treatment therefore is filtration. This process includes three steps; diatomaceous earth filtration, slow sand filtration and coagulation filtration. Helminthes ova

Children have the largest number of worms and are the most prone people worldwide to infection by parasitic worms (Laurent P et al, p49). Ascaris lumbricoides These are enteric helminthes that cause an infection of the small intestine known as ascariasis. Children as young as one year old can be infected with ascariasis. It is characterized by loss of appetite, distended and painful abdomen diarrhoea, coughing, vomiting and fever. The more larvae one has, the more severe the symptoms. Another reason for more severe symptoms is if the patient has adult worms. As one gets older, the numbers

of worms tend to reduce, but, they peak at the age of 15 and decrease as one progresses into adulthood. Ascaris lumbricoides’ eggs are found in surface water, untreated sewages, areas where there is poor hygiene, soil with human faeces that is contaminated, raw food obtained from soil that was already contaminated by the eggs of the worm, ground water and sea water. Ascariasis mainly affects people living in developing countries, especially those living in slums where there is inadequate sanitation. Ascaris ova can survive outside a host for very long periods, reason being, the embryo grows into the larva outside the host’s body.

Chlorination is ineffective when it comes to treating water that has been affected by ascariasis. Therefore, the best ways of treatment are coagulation and filtration. Whip Worms and Hook Worms Whip worms (Trichuris trichiura) and hookworms (Ancylostoma duodenale and Necator americanus) are enteric pathogens that mostly affect people in developing countries. The best mode of water treatment is by filtration because of their large size. Illnesses caused by these pathogens are severe and they are characterized by anaemia, bowel distraction and loss of weight, mental and physical retardation.

Prolonged illness can lead to death. In developing countries severe infection causes the patients to become more prone to the HIV virus. This is because millions of them either have tuberculosis or malaria since they live in the tropics. Their immune systems therefore become more active than those of normal healthy people and become imbalanced. This leads to an increase the infections of the plasma viral load and impairing of cellular immunity. When leaving the tap, drinking water may be free of microbes, but, the cup that one is pouring it into may not have been properly rinsed before use.

It might therefore contain the pathogens and one can become sick if their numbers are enough to cause an illness. It is therefore important to carry out measures to make sure that the water and containers used are safe. One can do this by making sure that both animal and human wastes are properly disposed, especially in refugee and IDP camps. The best way of doing this is by digging pit latrines which people in those areas can use as toilets. This will reduce or eventually get rid of ‘flying toilets’ which is basically human waste wrapped in paper bags that eventually

contaminate the soil. Washing hands after using the toilet is also important this will get rid of one way of contamination, which is the faecal-oral route. Treatment of sewages is also essential in reducing waterborne diseases. The municipal council should also make sure that water is properly disinfected before being piped to consumers. This will reduce the cases of waterborne diseases. Day care centers, hospitals and retirement homes should ensure that drinking water is properly treated too as children and the aged are the ones who are most susceptible to diseases.

Making sure that fruits and legumes are not only washed but washed with non contaminated water also reduces illnesses. Entamoeba histolytica Amoebic dysentery is a parasitic disease that can either be water washed or waterborne disease. It is caused by Entamoeba histolytica. It is an asymptomatic disease. However, it is characterized by diarrhoea, which is usually bloody. When it occurs for long periods in patients, it usually becomes life threatening. The diarrhoea is accompanied with cases of nausea, weight loss and a tender abdomen. In severe cases amoebic dysentery at

times spreads to the liver and also leads to perforation of the intestines (Management of Water Related Diseases, p20). It is transmitted through the faecal-oral route. E. histolytica is excreted through faecal matter of the patient. It can survive outside a host’s body for a long time, especially in moist environment. Amoebic dysentery can be passed from person to person in areas where there is poor sanitation. It can also be transmitted through sexual contact. This disease is more severe in patients with AIDS as their immune systems are already compromised. To prevent this type of disease, proper sanitation is a must; washing

hands after visiting the toilet, before handling any food, proper waste disposal and control of flies at home. Schistosoma (haematobium and mansoni) Bilharzia, which is caused by the blood-fluke can either be a water based disease (it is transmitted by coming into contact with water that is contaminated), or a waterborne disease. Humans are the primary hosts. The two blood-flukes Schistosoma haematobium and Schistosoma mansoni are both found in South Africa. Schistosoma haematobium causes urinary bilharzia while Schistosoma mansoni causes intestinal bilharzia (Management of

Water Related Diseases p22). In severe cases of infestation, while urinating, one can see blood in the last drops of urine. The blood-fluke hatches eggs in water which develop into larvae. The larvae invade fresh water snails and stay there till maturation when they are released back into the water where they penetrate the skin of the host. One should therefore make sure that communal swimming pool water is treated on the regular to avoid bilharzias or other surface waters such as ponds and lakes. References Celum C. L. , Chaison R. E. , et al. 1987. J. Infect. Dis. 156(6): p998-p1002.

“Incidence of Salmonellosis in Patients with AIDS. ” Crabtree T. C. , Gerba C. P. , et al. 1997. Waterborne Adenovirus: a Risk Assessment. (p11-p12). Water Science and Technology. Department of Water Affairs and Forestry. 2003. Management of Water-related Microbial Diseases Vol1. p20 & p22. “What is the Problem? Disease Characteristics,” 1st Edition. Laurent P. , Visser M. , et al. Feb 2005. Household Drinking Water Systems and their Impact on People with Weakened Immunity, p42-p43. Leclerc H. , Schwartzbrod L. ,et al. 2004. Microbial Waterborne Pathogens chpt1. “Microbial

Agents Associated with Waterborne Diseases. ” IWA publishing, London, UK. Manatsathit, S. , Tansupasawasdikul S. , et al. 1996. Journal of Gastroentology 31(4): p533- p537. “Cases of Chronic Diarrhoea in Patients with AIDS in Thailand: A Prospective Clinical and Microbiological Study. ” Marshall M. M. , Naumovitz D. , et al. 1997. Clin. Micr. Rev. 10 (1) p67-p85. Waterborne Protozoan Pathogens. Perdomo O. J. J. , Cavaillon J. M. , et al. 1994. Experimental Medicine p1307-p1319; “Acute Inflammation Causes Epithelial Invasion and Mucosal Destruction in Experimental Shigellosis. ”

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