Waterborne diseases are illnesses caused by micro-organisms that contaminate water sources.
Waterborne diseases are typically spread through ingestion of contaminated water or through contact with contaminated surfaces. People can become infected with waterborne diseases by drinking, bathing, washing or swimming in water from contaminated sources such as oceans, rivers, lakes, wells, hot tubs or fountains. A person can also get a waterborne illness by eating or drinking contaminated food or beverages, or by coming into contact with contaminated surfaces, such as food preparation areas. Common symptoms of waterborne illnesses include diarrhea and vomiting. Other symptoms such as skin, ear, respiratory, or eye problems may also occur.
It is important to take precautions to prevent waterborne illnesses, such as treating water before drinking, practicing good hygiene such as handwashing, staying out of the water if you have diarrhea, avoiding contact with contaminated water sources, and ensuring building owners and managers maintain building water systems.
Look through the following waterborne diseases to learn more about how they are transmitted and how you can stay healthy.