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A new strategy for waterborne disease prevention

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conference contribution
posted on 12.02.2018, 15:08 authored by Robert E. Quick, Eric D. Mintz, Jeremy Sobel, Paul S. Mead, Fred M. Reiff, Robert V. Tauxe
In many parts of the developing world, drinking water is collected from unsafe sources and is further contaminated during storage in household vessels. We have developed a simple, inexpensive system for point-of-use disinfection and storage of water which has 3 elements: for disinfection, a sodium hypochlorite solution produced from water and salt using appropriate technology; for safe storage, a 20-litre plastic vessel with a narrow mouth, lid, and spigot (referred to hereafter as the special vessel); and community education to ensure proper use of this system and to teach populations about the association between contaminated water and disease (Mintz, 1995). A field test of this system in El Alto, Bolivia, demonstrated a high level of acceptance among impoverished Aymara Indian families (Quick, 1996). Stored water in households that used the system had lower levels of contamination with E. coli than water in households that used their traditional storage systems. A second field test among vendors in the markets of Guatemala City, Guatemala, showed that there were lower levels of contamination with fecal coliform bacteria in samples of stored water and beverages from vendors using this system than from vendors not using this system (Sobel, 1997). Two field trials have been conducted in the past 3 years to test the effectiveness of this system in preventing diarrhea and its sustainability on a large scale.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering

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  • Water, Engineering and Development Centre (WEDC)

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WEDC Conference


QUICK, R.E. ... et al, 1997. A new strategy for waterborne disease prevention. IN: Pickford, J. et al. (eds). Water and sanitation for all - Partnerships and innovations: Proceedings of the 23rd WEDC International Conference, Durban, South Africa, 1-5 September 1997, pp.340-342.


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