A Perspective on the Global Pandemic of Waterborne Disease


Timothy E. Ford, Steve Hamner


Microbial Ecology


Waterborne diseases continue to take a heavy toll on the global community, with developing nations, and particularly young children carrying most of the burden of morbidity and mortality. Starting with the historical context, this article explores some of the reasons why this burden continues today, despite our advances in public health over the past century or so. While molecular biology has revolutionized our abilities to define the ecosystems and etiologies of waterborne pathogens, control remains elusive. Lack of basic hygiene and sanitation, and failing infrastructure, remain two of the greatest challenges in the global fight against waterborne disease. Emerging risks continue to be the specter of multiple drug resistance and the ease with which determinants of virulence appear to be transmitted between strains of pathogens, both within and outside the human host.



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