Emerging issues in water and infectious diseases
Infectious, water-related diseases are a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Newly-recognized pathogens and new strains of established pathogens are being discovered that present important additional challenges to both the water and public health sectors. Between 1972 and 1999, 35 new agents of disease were discovered and many more have re-emerged. Amongst these are pathogens that may be transmitted by water.
Other dimensions of "emerging issues" arise from changes in the way we manage water resources and supplies; changes in the and methods used to study the organisms and their health effects; and changes in the behaviour and susceptibility of the human population itself.
Investigating important emerging issues in water and infectious disease and communicating findings are addressed by an initiative being taken by the World Health Organization (WHO), USEPA and collaborators. The initiative seeks to accelerate the identification of actual and perceived issues, to bring together information and knowledge in critical areas, and to disseminate information to policy makers and practitioners in a timely fashion.