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Emerging Waterborne Infectious Diseases

Municipal Water Supply

  1. Louis H. Nel

Published Online: 15 APR 2005

DOI: 10.1002/047147844X.mw78

Water Encyclopedia

Water Encyclopedia

How to Cite

Nel, L. H. 2005. Emerging Waterborne Infectious Diseases. Water Encyclopedia. 1:177–183.

Author Information

  1. University of Pretoria, Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 APR 2005


Humanity is plagued at present by at least 1709 different infectious diseases. These diseases are caused by pathogens, which are microscopic and parasitic organisms of diverse natures, including infectious proteins (prions), viruses, bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. Compared to diseases like cancer and metabolic diseases that have genotypic roots, including heart disease, diabetes, and the like, progress in the fight against infectious diseases has been rapid during the last half century. Whereas infectious diseases such as smallpox, measles, polio, rabies, plague and numerous other bacterial diseases have once been a global scourge, many of these diseases have now become controllable due to spectacular advances in public health practices, including improvements in the quality of water and sanitation and by immunization, education, early diagnosis, and the use of antibiotics/antimicrobials and other drug therapies. However, globally, 45% of all deaths and 63% of early childhood deaths are still caused by infectious diseases.


  • infectious disease;
  • emerging disease;
  • reemerging disease;
  • waterborne infection;
  • intestinal parasites;
  • enteropathogens;
  • diarrhea viruses;
  • multiple drug resistance;
  • fecal–oral infection;
  • contaminated water