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Chapter 8

Chapter 8.docx

3 pages62 viewsFall 2012

Course Code
Geography 2430A/B
Michael Buzzelli

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Geography 2430A: Public Health and the Environment
Chapter #8: Water Quality and Health
Water-borne Diseases
Cholera is a disease caused by the ingestion of a bacterium, vibrio cholera,
present in water contaminated by fecal matter
Symptoms are massive loss of water and salts, leading to watery diarrhea
John Snow and Robert Koch’s research on the link between cholera and
contaminated water played a major role in producing the sanitary reforms that
helped control the disease in the developed world
Still a major cause of mortality across the globe
Resides in the gut of apparently health individuals who may be traveling widely,
it can spread via other transport routes
Malnutrition contributes to a predisposition to cholera since the body’s defense
mechanisms are weakened
It is the poorest countries that remain greatly impacted
The disease is socially patterned, with better-off families having lower disease
Higher incidence has been reported close to a hospital dealing with the disease,
since local residents have used canal water polluted by effluent discharge by the
hospital into the canal
It is surely the case that to halt disease incidence and spread requires an attack
on underlying structural determinants of poverty and poor sanitary
Approximately half the world’s population still lack access to adequate sanitation
and safe water
In 1832 (USA), spread was dictated by distance (contagious diffusion), with
towns near the origin of the outbreak registering the disease much earlier than
those far away
The better transportation infrastructure made the disease hierarchical, where
large cities got it then it spread to smaller cities
Dr. John Snow’s study in London (PAGE 203)
Schistosomiasis (also known as bilharzia) is a family of disease resulting from
infection with flatworms or “flukes” of the genus Schistosoma
The worm’s eggs are released via the urine or feces of an infected person onto
freshwater, where the eggs hatch and penetrate the snail
After 4 to 6 weeks the worm’s larvae is released into the water and penetrate
the skin of the human host
Different worms affect different body parts causing all sorts of diseases like liver
and kidney disease (water snail is a crucial element)
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