Waterborne Diseases

Bhaumi Shah, Tara Chen, Rishi Gaddamanugu

Legionnaires' disease

This disease is caused by a bacteria called Legionella pneumophila. It is also known as the Pontiac Fever. It's a respiratory disease that you get by breathing in mist, vapor or small droplets with the bacteria. It can be found in fresh water, cooling towers, water used for showering, aquatic facilities, and in warm water like hot tubs that don't have the right disinfectants. Its symptoms are severe pneumonia, flu-like infection, high fever, shortness of breath, muscle aches, and/or headaches. 1 out of 10 people die from this disease.

Spreading, Treatments, and Prevention

Legionnaires' infects and multiplies. It eventually kills the white blood cells.It reproduces with binary fission. This disease can be treated with certain antibiotics. One huge way to prevent getting this disease is not smoking. It worsens the condition if you actually get that disease. Another way to prevent it is talking to your pool and hot tub operator. Ask and make sure that the facility has the right pH levels and disinfectants. You can also ask about their health inspection score.

Chagas Disease

Chagas disease is caused by a protist called Trypanosoma cruzi. You can contract the disease when you are bitten by a kissing bug. The protist is created in blood reservoir. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, body aches, muscle pains, headaches, rashes, loss of appetite, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. Localized swelling, mild enlargement of the liver/spleen, and swollen glands can also occur.

Transmission, Treatments, and Prevention

The protist is spread through the triatomine bug, also known as the assassin or kissing bug. The bug drinks from the blood reservoir where the protist lives and takes it into its body. There, the protist travels into the bug's feces. When an infected bug takes a meal from a human, it deposits feces near the bite wound. The protist either enters through the wound or through the skin. Once inside, the disease spreads until it reaches the bloodstream and continue to divide and spread.

Treatments of the disease in its acute stage include drugs benznidazole and nifurtimox. In the chronic phase, Chagas disease requires different treatments based on if the disease causes digestive or heart issues, or in some cases, both. For digestive complications, changes in diet, medications, and corticosteroids, are used for treatment, and in extreme cases, surgery might be required. For heart complications medications, devices to regulate heart rhythm, and surgery are used to treat the disease, however, heart transplants might be needed in rare cases.

Prevention of the disease includes using insect repellent in areas where the bug is common and spraying insecticide to keep the bugs away. It is also recommended to not sleep in adobe, mud, or thatch houses and if sleeping in adobe, mud, or thatch houses to put an insecticide soaked net over your bed.


Ascariasis is caused by parasitic worm called the Enterobius Vermicularis. You can get this disease by drinking contaminated water or if the eggs get to your hand from the objects you touch. The worm settles down in the lower part of the small intestine and when it goes down, starts to cause major rashes. When the eggs are laid, the eggs will spread around onto the human fingers and will spread into the environment. Symptoms of this include rashes in the area down below, and severe itching.




Britannica Image Quest

Transmission, Treatments, and Prevention

This disease spreads around using contaminated water and lays eggs which spread on to human fingers. Treatments for this disease include Anthelminthics such as Mebendazole and albendazole. You can prevent getting this disease by not drinking contaminated water and washing your hands frequently with soap. If the worms die, they cn't spread around.