Water, sanitation and hygiene related health problems caused by parasitic protozoa in low- and middle-income countries

Protozoan parasites are identified as the second most frequent etiological causes of the mortality among children under five years old. Globally they are responsible for 1.7 billion cases of diarrhea, which leads to 842,000 deaths per year [1-2]. Improved water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) are significant in preventing diarrhea morbidity and mortality caused by protozoa, especially in low- and middle-income countries [3-4]. The aim is to present an overview of the current state of WASH-related health problems caused by parasitic protozoa. We suggest the systems approach to WASH as a solution of these problems.

Firstly, access to safely managed drinking water source and sanitation services is essential. This can only be achieved through integrated studies that examine the sources, concentrations, survival and transmission of water-related parasites, the environmental exposure, and the ability of purification systems to reliably reduce the risk of transmitting the disease. It is important to conduct parasitological control in treatment plants and to establish regulations for acceptable concentrations of cysts and oocysts based on the subsequent use of wastewater. Proper wastewater treatment or excreta disposal in household is also significant in order for protozoan parasites in feces do not enter the sources of water supply.

However, besides improving water supply and sewerage systems to prevent or minimize the risk of spreading protozoan parasites, measures should be focused on the hygienic behavior of people. People should feel their share of the responsibility for health and undertake such activities as hand washing, boiling tap water or installing additional filters for water purification, safe disposal of human waste and health education.

There are various institutions of control and prevention of water-related diseases caused by protozoa in developed countries. Unfortunately, the developing regions do not have comparable systems. Consequently, an appropriate body to monitor the system is necessary in these countries. This monitoring will be used with a view to assess risks in order to determine the required treatment course, to assess the risk for population, reliability and effectiveness of a full-scale water treatment system as well as to assist in the investigation of water-related outbreaks and epidemics.

References:

  1. Efstratiou, A.; Ongerth, J.E.; Karanis, P. Waterborne transmission of protozoan parasites: Review of worldwide outbreaks – An update 2011-2016. Water Res. 2017, 114, 14–22.
  2. Baldursson, S.; Karanis, P. Waterborne transmission of protozoan parasites: Review of worldwide outbreaks – An update 2004-2010. Water Res. 2011, 45, 6603–6614.
  3. Bartram, J.; Cairncross, S. Hygiene, sanitation, and water: Forgotten foundation of health. PLoS Med. 2010, 7, e1000367.
  4. Mtapuri-Zinyowera, S.; Ruhanya, V.; Midzi, N.; Berejena, C.; Chin’ombe, N.; Nziramasanga, P.; Nyandoro, G.; Mduluza, T. Human parasitic protozoa in drinking water sources in rural Zimbabwe and their link to HIV infection. Germs 2014, 4, 86–91.
Year: 2018
City: Shymkent
Category: Medicine