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    Cholera, Dengue Fever, and Malaria: The Unquestionable Link to Water

    Learn how unclean water is linked to Cholera, Dengue Fever, and Malaria

    Cholera, Dengue Fever, and Malaria: The Unquestionable Link to Water

    Lori Lewis, Guest Writer

    Cholera, Malaria, and Dengue Fever have been plaguing humans for centuries, and although scientific breakthroughs have brought about cholera vaccines and malaria prophylactics, these three diseases continue to be a source of illness and death for millions of people in today's world. The common link for these three very different diseases is their relationship with water. Cholera, a bacterial illness, can be acquired when sources of drinking water have been contaminated. Malaria is caused by a parasite, and a virus causes Dengue Fever. Both malaria and Dengue fever are carried by mosquitoes, which lay their larvae in still water. All three diseases are becoming more prevalent as the effects of climate change are emerging.

    The incidence of Dengue Fever is on the rise, and one reason behind this is the rapid urbanization of tropical areas (Chandra, Kashyap, & Singh 2010). When population growth outpaces the existing infrastructure, wastewater treatment systems are unable to cope with the influx, garbage and sanitation facilities cannot contain the increased refuse, and access to clean, treated drinking water may not be available. All of these conditions contribute to the possibility of excess water pooling, which creates the perfect environment for disease causing mosquitoes to breed (Sergo 2007). When drinking water is unavailable through a community system (either wells or through a home tap), it must be carried and stored near the home. Uncovered containers of stored drinking water are also the perfect habitat for breeding mosquitoes.

    Malaria, a disease caused by parasites that enter the blood through the bite of a mosquito, causes fever, anemia, and can lead to severe complications and even death. Malaria is being found more frequently in areas where it was never prevalent before. Some scientists think this might be due to rising global temperatures, which allow mosquitoes to thrive where it was once too cool for them to live (Barclay 2008). The same factors that promote the spread of Dengue fever also apply to the spread of malaria. The use of pesticides and treated mosquito nets, along with neighborhood cleanup of garbage and debris, can help to reduce exposure to the mosquitoes. However, the toughest issues to control are those that contribute the most to increasing the incidence of mosquito-born illnesses: population growth, insufficient infrastructure and civil services, and changing weather patterns.

    Epidemics of cholera, a bacterial illness that causes severe watery diarrhea and vomiting, are seen more often during times of disaster, when community infrastructure has been destroyed or compromised. Floods, earthquakes, and civil unrest can lead to the breakdown of community services. Lack of access to improved sanitation facilities can cause the bacteria to leak into the water supply, thus having the potential to infect all who drink the water. This bacterium spreads very easily from person to person, and in times when fresh, clean water is not available for drinking and hand washing, caretakers of the sick can infect themselves and others very easily (Falco and Smith 2010). The recent outbreak of cholera in Haiti is a prime example of the need for sanitation facilities to be erected immediately after a disaster. With hundreds of thousands of people without access to clean, running water or toilet facilities, many people have no choice other than to defecate in the open, which further complicates the ability to keep the spread of the cholera epidemic under control (Falco, et al. 2010).

    According to Hamlin (2009), "'Cholera forcing' - the idea that cholera 'forces' beneficial changes in public health - is probably the best-known case of the myth of the good epidemic: public health infrastructure is inadequate; sooner or later an epidemic arrives and flourishes in these foul conditions; then, technological changes that had not seemed possible become imperative." One common theme emerges when discussing these three diseases. The areas that are most prone to epidemics of cholera, dengue fever, and malaria are areas of the world that are home to some of the world's poorest people. In order to control these and other infectious diseases, it is imperative that people in these regions have access to clean, safe drinking water and improved sanitation. Building wells and latrines before a disaster or an epidemic strikes would provide the basic human rights these citizens need to protect themselves against three of the world's most dangerous diseases.


    Barclay, E. (January 9, 2008). Climate change fueling malaria in Kenya, experts say. Retrieved from http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/01/080109-malaria-warming.html

    Chandra, S., Kashyap, S., & Singh, A. (2010). Dengue syndrome: an emerging zoonotic disease. North-East Veterinarian, 9(4), 21-22. Retrieved from Global Health database.

    Falco, M., Smith, M. (November 18, 2010). Poor sanitation could worsen Haiti cholera outbreak, CDC says. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/11/18/haiti.cholera.sanitation/

    Hamlin, C. (2009). "Cholera forcing": the myth of the good epidemic and the coming of good water. American Journal of Public Health, 99(11), 1946-1954. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2009.165688.

    Sergo, P. (August 10, 2007). Dengue fever warming up to human habits. Retrieved from http://www.scienceline.org/2007/08/environment-sergo-denguefever/

    स्रोत : thewaterproject.org


    Vector-borne diseases are illnesses caused by pathogens and parasites in human populations. WHO works with partners to provide education and improve awareness so that people know how to protect themselves and their communities from mosquitoes, ticks, bugs, flies and other vectors.

    Vector-borne diseases

    2 March 2020 العربية 中文 Français Русский Español

    Key facts

    Vector-borne diseases account for more than 17% of all infectious diseases, causing more than 700 000 deaths annually. They can be caused by either parasites, bacteria or viruses.

    Malaria is a parasitic infection transmitted by Anopheline mosquitoes. It causes an estimated 219 million cases globally, and results in more than 400,000 deaths every year. Most of the deaths occur in children under the age of 5 years.

    Dengue is the most prevalent viral infection transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes. More than 3.9 billion people in over 129 countries are at risk of contracting dengue, with an estimated 96 million symptomatic cases and an estimated 40,000 deaths every year.

    Other viral diseases transmitted by vectors include chikungunya fever, Zika virus fever, yellow fever, West Nile fever, Japanese encephalitis (all transmitted by mosquitoes), tick-borne encephalitis (transmitted by ticks).

    Many of vector-borne diseases are preventable, through protective measures, and community mobilisation.


    Vectors are living organisms that can transmit infectious pathogens between humans, or from animals to humans. Many of these vectors are bloodsucking insects, which ingest disease-producing microorganisms during a blood meal from an infected host (human or animal) and later transmit it into a new host, after the pathogen has replicated. Often, once a vector becomes infectious, they are capable of transmitting the pathogen for the rest of their life during each subsequent bite/blood meal.

    Vector-borne diseases

    Vector-borne diseases are human illnesses caused by parasites, viruses and bacteria that are transmitted by vectors. Every year there are more than 700,000 deaths from diseases such as malaria, dengue, schistosomiasis, human African trypanosomiasis, leishmaniasis, Chagas disease, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis and onchocerciasis.

    The burden of these diseases is highest in tropical and subtropical areas, and they disproportionately affect the poorest populations. Since 2014, major outbreaks of dengue, malaria, chikungunya, yellow fever and Zika have afflicted populations, claimed lives, and overwhelmed health systems in many countries. Other diseases such as Chikungunya, leishmaniasis and lymphatic filariasis cause chronic suffering, life-long morbidity, disability and occasional stigmatisation.

    Distribution of vector-borne diseases is determined by a complex set of demographic, environmental and social factors. Global travel and trade, unplanned urbanization, and en

    List of vector-borne diseases, according to their vector

    The following table is a non-exhaustive list of vector-borne disease, ordered according to the vector by which it is transmitted. The list also illustrates the type of pathogen that causes the disease in humans.

    VectorDisease causedType of pathogen

    Mosquito Aedes Chikungunya Dengue

    Lymphatic filariasis

    Rift Valley fever Yellow Fever Zika Virus Virus Parasite Virus Virus Virus Anopheles

    Lymphatic filariasis

    Malaria Parasite Parasite Culex

    Japanese encephalitis

    Lymphatic filariasis

    West Nile fever Virus Parasite Virus Aquatic snails

    Schistosomiasis (bilharziasis)

    Parasite Blackflies

    Onchocerciasis (river blindness)

    Parasite Fleas

    Plague (transmitted from rats to humans)

    Tungiasis Bacteria Ectoparasite Lice Typhus

    Louse-borne relapsing fever

    Bacteria Bacteria Sandflies Leishmaniasis

    Sandfly fever (phlebotomus fever)

    Parasite Virus Ticks

    Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever

    Lyme disease

    Relapsing fever (borreliosis)

    Rickettsial diseases (eg: spotted fever and Q fever)

    Tick-borne encephalitis

    Tularaemia Virus Bacteria Bacteria Bacteria Virus Bacteria Triatome bugs

    Chagas disease (American trypanosomiasis)

    Parasite Tsetse flies

    Sleeping sickness (African trypanosomiasis)

    Parasite WHO response

    The "Global Vector Control Response (GVCR) 2017–2030" was approved by the World Health Assembly in 2017. It provides strategic guidance to countries and development partners for urgent strengthening of vector control as a fundamental approach to preventing disease and responding to outbreaks. To achieve this a re-alignment of vector control programmes is required, supported by increased technical capacity, improved infrastructure, strengthened monitoring and surveillance systems, and greater community mobilization. Ultimately, this will support implementation of a comprehensive approach to vector control that will enable the achievement of disease-specific national and global goals and contribute to achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and Universal Health Coverage.

    WHO Secretariat provides strategic, normative and technical guidance to countries and development partners for strengthening vector control as a fundamental approach based on GVCR to preventing disease and responding to outbreaks. Specifically WHO responds to vector-borne diseases by:

    स्रोत : www.who.int

    7 Most Common Waterborne Diseases (and How to Prevent Them)

    Each year, waterborne diseases afflict hundreds of millions of people, primarily those living without safe, accessible water access in developing countries. Prevent seven waterborne diseases today.

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    Lifewater Home / Blog / 7 Most Common Waterborne Diseases (and How to Prevent Them)

    7 Most Common Waterborne Diseases (and How to Prevent Them)

    May 23, 2019 | Clean Water Community Health Water-Borne Diseases

    Each year, waterborne diseases afflict hundreds of millions of people, primarily those living without safe, accessible water in developing countries.

    Of the seven most common waterborne diseases in the world, diarrhea is the central symptom. The latest research shows that diarrhea is the second leading cause of death for children under the age of five, causing more childhood deaths than malaria, AIDS, and measles combined.

    That’s hundreds of thousands of deaths, but there is hope for the future. Experts believe we can end the global water and sanitation crisis in our lifetime.

    What are Waterborne Diseases?

    Waterborne diseases are illnesses caused by microscopic organisms, like viruses and bacteria, that are ingested through contaminated water or by coming in contact with feces.

    If every person on the planet was able to practice safe sanitation and hygiene and have access to clean water, these diseases would not exist. Governments, NGOs, and communities themselves have made great strides in the past 20 years to end waterborne diseases. Still, there is much to be done.

    Learn about seven waterborne diseases and help prevent them today.

    Typhoid Fever

    Although rare in industrialized countries, typhoid fever is well-known in extremely poor parts of developing nations; it’s estimated that up to 20 million people worldwide suffer from the illness each year. It’s spread through contaminated food, unsafe water, and poor sanitation, and it is highly contagious.

    Two children bathe in a pond in Cambodia

    Symptoms include:

    A fever that increases gradually

    Muscle aches Fatigue Sweating

    Diarrhea or constipation

    Prevention and Treatment

    Vaccines are recommended for people who are traveling in areas where poor sanitation and unsafe water are common. The vaccine can be injected via a shot or taken orally for a number of days. To prevent it, refrain from drinking any water that isn’t bottled and sealed, and do not eat food from villages or street vendors. Typhoid is treated with antibiotics.



    Cholera is commonly found in humanitarian emergencies or marginalized villages where poverty and poor sanitation are rampant. The disease is spread through contaminated water and causes severe dehydration and diarrhea. Cholera can be fatal within days or even hours of exposure to the bacteria, but only 1 in 10 people will develop life-threatening symptoms.

    Symptoms include:

    Nausea Vomiting Diarrhea Muscle cramps

    Prevention and Treatment

    Cholera is a waterborne illness that’s easily prevented when traveling. Wash your hands often, only eat foods that are completely cooked and hot (no sushi), and only eat vegetables you can peel yourself, like avocados, bananas, and oranges. Of course, drink safe water.

    Lifewater teaches proper handwashing in three developing countries.

    When handwashing in unavailable, cholera can impact an entire village. In developing countries like Ethiopia, data shows that 40 percent of households do not have means to wash their hands properly, meaning they don’t have safe water, soap, and a facility to wash. This makes hygiene management and disease prevention nearly impossible for these communities.

    Lifewater helps prevent cholera in remote villages by teaching families how to construct their own handwashing devices. To date, 5,970 homes in Ethiopia alone have built their own handwashing station (called a “tippy tap“) using locally-sourced materials.


    This waterborne disease is shared through contaminated water, most often in ponds and streams, but it can also be found in a town’s water supply, swimming pools, and more. The infection is caused by a parasite and typically clears up after a few weeks. However, it’s possible for those who have been exposed will experience intestinal problems for years to come.

    Symptoms include:

    Abdominal pain Cramps and bloating Diarrhea Nausea Weight loss

    Prevention and Treatment

    While there is no vaccine for giardia, there are simple ways to avoid the infection. Wash your hands with soap often, don’t swallow water while swimming, and drink only bottled water.

    With time, the immune system will typically beat giardia on its own. But, if symptoms worsen, doctors prescribe anti-parasite and antibiotic medications.

    Water-poor communities cannot protect themselves from illnesses like giardia, and treatment for this illness can come at a high cost for a family living in poverty. For these reasons, Lifewater’s programs focus on long-term prevention. This includes constructing safe water sources and teaching health practices, one house at a time, until the entire community has the resources and the knowledge to prevent waterborne illness.

    स्रोत : lifewater.org

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