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Free Content Is there an association between bacteriological drinking water quality and childhood diarrhoea in developing countries?

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To investigate the association between bacteriological drinking water quality and incidence of diarrhoea, we conducted a 1-year prospective study in the southern Punjab, Pakistan. Diarrhoea episodes, drinking water sources and drinking water quality were monitored weekly among children younger than 5 years in 200 households. We found no association between the incidence of childhood diarrhoea and the number of Escherichia coli in the drinking water sources (the public domain). A possible trend was seen relating the number of E. coli in the household storage containers (the domestic domain) and diarrhoea incidence, but this did not reach statistical significance. Faecal contamination levels in household water containers were generally high even when the source water was of good quality. Under conditions such as this, it is questionable whether public water treatment will have a significant impact on the incidence of endemic childhood diarrhoea.
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Keywords: Escherichia coli; Pakistan; diarrhoea; drinking water contamination; sanitation; water quality

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of International Health, Institute of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark 2: International Water Management Institute, Colombo, Sri Lanka 3: Disease Control and Vector Biology Unit, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK 4: Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Frederiksberg, Denmark

Publication date: 2004-11-01

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