Millions of people are affected by waterborne viruses each year when they drink contaminated water. According to the World Health Organization, at least two billion people have contaminated drinking water sources. Waterborne viruses and other diseases are becoming more important as the world’s population grows and safe drinking water becomes less available. Here are some tips and tricks to help you identify waterborne viruses and protect your water supply.
How Can Viruses Get Into The Water?
Water contaminated with urine or feces from an infected animal or person can lead to viruses. Floods, stormwater runoff pollution, an improperly functioning sewage systems all increase the risk. Water from well water, as well as water from unsterilized sources such as rivers and lakes, are particularly vulnerable to contamination. Virus contamination can be found in all water sources, even untreated. Many developing countries are affected by viral epidemics due to a lack of clean water.
Even though municipal water sources are not always safe, there is still a risk. Your water supply could be exposed to dangerous pathogens and viruses if the municipal disinfection process fails. Your water company will issue a boil water advisory if the disinfection process fails. This is because they can’t guarantee your water supply’s safety.
How Can You Test Water For Viruses?
Sending a sample of water to a laboratory is the best way to test for viruses. The lab will concentrate the water into a smaller volume. Next, the virus detection is done by nucleic acid extractor molecular detection such as polymerase chains reaction (PCR). Contact an accredited laboratory if you’re interested in having your water tested.
There are no home water testing kits available that can detect viruses. However, a home coliform bacteria test will let you know if your water is contaminated with disease-causing organisms. Both humans and animals have coliform bacteria in their feces. Although they aren’t often a cause of illness, their presence can indicate that other pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, and parasites may be present.
Municipal water providers regularly test their water, but it is up to you to test your well for contaminants and ensure a safe water supply. Water testing is recommended because wells are particularly vulnerable to contamination after heavy rains and flooding. However, testing aside, untreated water sources are at risk of contamination. It is recommended to take precautionary measures, such as installing a water treatment system, to protect your family and home from infection.
Types Of Waterborne Viruses
The most prevalent waterborne viruses are Hepatitis, Norovirus, and Rotavirus. They can be transmitted by drinking, washing, washing, or eating water-contaminated food.
Five types of viral Hepatitis are available (A, B, and C), and they all cause liver inflammation. Hepatitis E and A are the only ones that can be spread by contaminated water. Both Hepatitis A/E symptoms include nausea, fever, jaundice, and loss of appetite. The good news is that most patients recover quickly and do not experience any long-term side effects. However, good hygiene and handwashing are important to prevent getting sick. For both adults and children, there is a Hepatitis B vaccine.
Norovirus virus is a virus that can spread quickly and easily. It only takes a few virus particles to make someone sick. Common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain. The spread of Norovirus and other waterborne pathogens can be dangerous because they can travel beyond the drinking water. You can also get sick if you eat food that has been grown or harvested from contaminated water. Oysters can be harvested and fruits and veggies may have been irrigated using contaminated water. It is important to wash your hands frequently, rinse vegetables and fruits before you eat, cook shellfish thoroughly, and not drink water that could be contaminated.
Rotavirus occurs most often in infants and young kids. It causes diarrhea, vomiting, and loss of appetite and can lead to dehydration. Rotavirus can also be transmitted to adults, although the symptoms are usually milder. Two Rotavirus vaccines are available for infants. However, there is no vaccine available for adults or older children. Rotavirus spread can be prevented by handwashing, hygiene, and avoiding potentially contaminated foods and water.
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