Water crisis - increases disease risk

2018-02-01 06:01

With limited water resources comes an increased risk of disease – often due to poor hygiene.

According to Unicef, washing your hands with soap and water can cut diarrhoeal disease by one-third. This becomes less feasible, however, when less water is available. Despite water being in short supply, make sure you consume only safe, clean water. Also remember that you can keep your hands clean with waterless hand sanitiser.

Five diseases at risk during a drought:

1. Typhoid

Typhoid is caused by Salmonella typhi, which is spread through contaminated food or drink. If water is exposed to sewage contaminated with the bacteria, people who consume the water will get sick.

Symptoms: Fever, stomach aches and sometimes a rash.

Prevention: Practise good hygiene and safe food preparation.

2. Gastroenteritis

The virus or bacterium that causes gastroenteritis affects the stomach lining and intestines, and is usually transmitted through contaminated water or food.

Symptoms: Stomach cramps, watery stools and dehydration.

Prevention: Practise good hygiene and drink only safe, clean water.

3. Salmonella

Salmonella is one of the most common food-borne diseases and the bacteria are often found in food products – for example raw poultry, eggs, beef and sometimes raw fruit.

Symptoms: Diarrhoea, fever, abdominal cramps and headache.

Prevention: Don’t consume unpasteurised milk or raw eggs. Practise good hand hygiene and safe food preparation.

4. Cholera

If you ingest the cholera bacteria, you will get sick. It is transmitted through faeces – so if human faeces contaminate food or water that is consumed owing to poor sanitation or hygiene, the bacteria will continue to breed.

Symptoms: Severe, watery diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting, dehydration, muscle cramps and shock.

Prevention: Practise good hygiene and drink only safe, clean water.

5. Mosquito-borne diseases

A severe drought can increase mosquito-borne diseases. Although droughts mean less water, stagnant water creates the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes.

  • Prevention: Avoid letting water stand for too long and use mosquito repellant.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.