Welcome to the Waterborne Pathogens website!
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Monday, 06 April 2009 00:00

Waterborne disease is a global burden which is estimated to cause more than 3 million deaths and innumerable cases of sickness every year. Although the extent of the problem is hard to capture and numbers tend to be a gross underestimation due to the lack of a surveillance system, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated in 1996 that water-related disease caused the death of one child every 8 seconds ( WHO 1996). In the meantime the situation has rather gotten worse than better and contaminated water is still the leading cause of disease and death in developing countries. Also in developed countries the future of microbiological water safety is a highly relevant topic. Overwhelming water demand, increasing resistance of pathogens to disinfection, increasing population densities and the resulting growth in agricultural, industrial, and human waste discharge that water receives increasingly make clean and safe water a very valuable resource. Areas with deteriorating water system infrastructure and inadequate disinfection are likely to face an increasing incidence of water-caused disease ( Swerdlow et al. 1992).

This website presents water-relevant information of important bacterial, protozoan, and viral waterborne pathogens. It is actually a detailed scientific review, which was put on the web for reasons of accessibility instead of being published in form of a book. Whereas epidemiological data has been reviewed extensively elsewhere and is available from many sources, we tried to collect data which is more related to the water environment itself including information about the abundance and prevalence of pathogens in different water types, their survival characteristics and persistence, susceptibility to disinfection, infectious doses and non-cultivation based detection methods with a special emphasis on DNA-based techniques. The information is geared towards laboratories, institutions, and individuals in academia, industry, and organizations as a fast and easily accessible information resource. Future updates and extensions are planned depending on funding.


Disclaimer: Considering the wealth of information in the literature, this documentation can only provide a selected number of examples of studies for every microorganism covered. It is intended to serve as a basic overview over the most important waterborne pathogens. Information was supported by references whenever possible. We would like to point out that the summarized publications do not substitute the original literature. For more detailed information about each particular organism we recommend the reading of further publications which could not be included here. As the initial version is likely to suffer from limitations, suggestions and corrections are greatly appreciated and should be directed to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Last Updated on Monday, 14 November 2011 14:25


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