According to the World Health Organization (WHO), zoonoses are diseases caused by pathogens. Through a natural process, they are transmitted from animals to human beings. With the emerging global issues such as climate change and severe weather conditions, so much has to be done to guarantee environmental safety (Cotruvo, Dufour, Rees, Bartram, Carr, Cliver, Craun, Fayer, & Gannon 17).
Bradley’s Classifications of Water-Related Diseases
Bradley gives four main classifications of water-related infections. These include; water-borne infections such as typhoid and cholera, water-washed infections which result from poor personal or domestic cleanliness, water-based infections where part of the pathogens life cycle is in an aquatic environment and finally, infections with water-related insect vectors which are transmitted by insects that breed in water such as mosquitoes (Cotruvo et al. 32-4).
The World Health Organization provides two other water-related transmissions. There are those transmitted by inhalation of water aerosols and those passed on by consumption of raw or undercooked contaminated fish (Cotruvo et al. 34).
Zoonoses are considered to be water-related for two major reasons. First, part of the pathogen’s life cycle enters water either through feces or urine. Secondly, the pathogen is transmitted from animals to humans through a water-related avenue. This can be either through water ingestion or by contact (Cotruvo et al. 36).
One of the factors affecting the distribution of water-borne zoonoses is the presence of contaminated water sources that aid the movement of pathogens from one victim to another. Poor sanitation and disposal of animal and human waste also create healthy breeding grounds for the parasites.
Schistosomiasis, also known as bilharzias, is an example of a parasitic disease. Snails, water and humans are the main carriers of the pathogen that causes this disease. Larvae will usually emerge from infected snails that get into water and later penetrate human skin, finally end up in the human host where they mature into adult worms.
They mate and the female deposits eggs. The eggs then move to intestines, and later are released either through stool or urine from the human body into water. They then proceed to produce in the water giving birth to what is known as miracidia, a larval form that can smoothly swim about. The miracidia enters a snail host and later comes out as the larvae (Shope 1).
Schistosomiasis infections are common in African countries, South America and Asia with prevalence being high among women and younger people (Shope 1). A recent occurrence was witnessed in Mberengwa district, Zimbabwe in March 2010. The outbreak affected quite a number of school going children.
The parasites are favored by mid range temperatures of between 25 oC and 28 oC. This is bound to worsen as the effects of climate change continue to seriously bite globally. Human activities are also a menace to the environment and are slowly contributing to the spread of schistosomiasis (Shope 1).
Several drinking water companies exist in America to offer quality water services. These companies are required to produce consumer confidence reports on a yearly basis and make them accessible to consumers. The York Water Company is one such company.
The company’s 2009 Consumer Confidence Report indicates that the it provides water services to over 180,000 people in 43 communities in York and Adams County, Pennsylvania. Water used by this company comes from a variety of sources that include rivers and lakes. These sources may be contaminated with viruses and bacteria among other contaminants. The company uses nitrate for purification purposes and this can be harmful if not used in the correct amounts (TYWC 2).
Cotruvo, Joseph A., Dufour, Alfred., Rees, Gareth., Bartram, Jamie., Carr, Richard., Cliver, Dean O., Craun, Gunther F., Fayer, Ronald., and Gannon, Victor P. J. Waterborne Zoonoses: Identification, Causes and Control. World Health Organization, 2004. Web. 19 February 2011.
Shope, Robert E. Impacts of Global Climate Change on Human Health: Spread of Infectious Disease. Center for International Earth Science Information Network. n.d. Web. 22 February 2011.
The York Water Company (TYWC). 2009 Annual Drinking Water Quality Report. The York Water Company. 2009. Web. 22 February 2011.