Food and waterborne illnesses occur due to contamination with different microorganisms (bacteria) and the toxins released by them. Microorganisms in water and food can cause gastrointestinal and other problems such as diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and abdominal pain as well as different infections.
Types of Infections and How They Occur
Infections can be divided into algal, viral, bacterial, parasitic, and protozoal. Illnesses occur due to microorganisms in non-treated drinking water, sewage water, groundwater contamination, campgrounds, leaks, and pipe breaks. Infections also occur due to poor disinfection and microorganisms that accumulate on membranes and filters which cannot be thoroughly cleaned or disinfected. Illnesses occur due to seasonal runoff of water, in animal manure, drinking water that is contaminated with feces, bacteria or eggs or contains larvae, and microorganisms found in aquatic environments. The symptoms vary, depending on the type of infection and include double or blurred vision, nosebleed, cramps, high fever, dehydration, vomiting of blood, and lesions. Other symptoms are malaise, muscle aches, anorexia, ataxia, chills, hypovolemic shock, and even renal failure, and liver damage. When algal infections occur, microbial agents enter through open wounds.
Intestinal bacteria contaminate beef and other types of meat during processing. Food contamination also occurs when plants are contaminated by water, animal waste fertilizers, and soil. Unpasteurized juices and milk are possible sources of disease as well and so are products left over longer periods.
Preventing Food and Waterborne Disease
Prevention is important, especially for people who tend to experience severe symptoms such as liver and lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions. Pregnant women, those with a compromised or weakened immune system, and the elderly are also at risk. There are certain things to do to prevent food and waterborne disease, and obviously good hygiene is the key to prevention. Wash your hands regularly, especially when travelling. Tap water in some regions of the world is considered unsafe. Drinks in unopened containers, including commercially prepared and carbonated drinks, are safe. Ice from tap water should be avoided as well. Waterborne disease can be avoided by using chemical treatments such as chlorine dioxide and other chlorine preparations. Good hygiene is especially important in confined environments and institutional settings such as nursing homes, cruise ships, daycare, and others. Frequent outbreaks are more frequent in confined environments.Read More