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Global Water, Sanitation, & Hygiene (WASH)

Global WASH-Related Diseases and Contaminants

Waterborne Diseases

Waterborne diseases are caused by pathogenic microbes that can be directly spread through contaminated water. Most waterborne diseases cause diarrheal illness [Note: not all diseases listed below cause diarrhea]. Eighty-eight percent of diarrhea cases worldwide are linked to unsafe water, inadequate sanitation or insufficient hygiene (1) . These cases result in 1.5 million deaths each year, mostly in young children (1). The usual cause of death is dehydration. Most cases of diarrheal illness and death occur in developing countries because of unsafe water, poor sanitation, and insufficient hygiene. Other waterborne diseases do not cause diarrhea; instead these diseases can cause malnutrition, skin infections, and organ damage.

Waterborne diseases are those such as:




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