Waterborne diseases are distant from uncommon in Britain and these diseases can occur due to sewage or infections spread by wildlife, particularly by rats, open water can easily become contaminated. According to clinical microbiologist Prof Paul Hunter, from the University of East Anglia, sea water usually gives fewer problems as water cannot stagnate and its saltiness stems propagation of bacteria.
However, there is no need to be scared, sated Prof Hunter, specializes in waterborne disease. It is implausible to get in touch with the outdoors. Just be sure to take precautions. Here, experts give advice on the most common culprits of waterborne disease and ways to avoid them.
1 Weil’s disease : Weil’s or Leptospirosis disease is a bacterial infection spread by the urine of sea animals. The symptoms of the condition may include vomiting, diarrhoea, muscle pain, fatigue and severe headache. In absence of treatment it can cause fatal organ failure. In addition to rat’ urine, the disease can come from fox, rabbit, cat and even hedgehog urine.
It can also found in still water of lakes and it is possible to acquire Weill’s from ingesting contaminated water, but is much more usually caught when it gets into the blood stream. Prof Hunter advises that one should wear sandals to avoid cuts and scratch, it they already have then keep them out of water. If symptoms develop after being in water, visit your hospital immediately.
2 Escherichia Coli : E.coli bacteria are linked to food poisoning but it can also pick up from rivers and streams containing sewage. Prof Hunter said E.coli bacteria can be picked up in small quantity of water if that water has come into contact with any kind of animal faeces, guts or bird droppings.
The condition causes vomiting and diarrhoea and may be lethal in the very young and old. However, it is easily treated with antibiotics and healthy adults will usually recover quickly. The use of breaststroke can minimize the amount of water getting into the mouth, advises, Prof Hunter.
3 Cryptosporidiosis : This condition occurred due to a parasite known as Cryptosporidium that targets the small intestine. The condition is more common in children aged one to five, but can affect anyone. The symptoms of the condition may include vomiting, severe headache, dehydration, diarrhoea and sometimes rash around the stomach. It can be fatal in very young people.
It is come from either sewage or dead animals and more common in streams where cows or sheep may have urinated so avoid drinking from these even if they look clear. To avoid contracting Crypto, wash hands thoroughly after paddling in a river or stream. Do not eat anything until you are sure your hands are clean, advises Prof Hunter.
4 Swimmer’s Ear : Otitis externa is a widespread infection that affects the ear canal and is known as swimmer’s ear as regular swimmers are five times more prone to develop the contagion. Small scratches, cuts or blemishes leave the ear susceptible to many types of bacteria that are plentiful in water, which causes the ear to become inflamed and itchy.
In severe cases the ear will excrete discharge, causing temporary deafness. To avoid an ear infections do not put your ears underwater unless you know they are free of irritation and the water is clean. Earplugs can prevent dirty water getting to dry or vulnerable skin deeper inside the ear, explains ear, Robert Quinney ENT surgeon from the Royal Free Hospital, London.