Legionnaires' disease on a cruise ship linked to the water supply system: clinical and public health implications.
The occurrence of legionnaires' disease has been described previously in passengers of cruise ships, but determination of the source has been rare. A 67-year-old, male cigarette smoker with heart disease contracted legionnaires' disease during a cruise in September 1995 and died 9 days after disembarking. Legionella pneumophila serogroup 1 was isolated from the patient's sputum and the ship's water supply. Samples from the air-conditioning system were negative. L. pneumophila serogroup 1 isolates from the water supply matched the patient's isolate, by both monoclonal antibody subtyping and genomic fingerprinting. None of 116 crew members had significant antibody titers to L. pneumophila serogroup 1. One clinically suspected case of legionnaires' disease and one confirmed case were subsequently diagnosed among passengers cruising on the same ship in November 1995 and October 1996, respectively. This is the first documented evidence of the involvement of a water supply system in the transmission of legionella infection on ships. These cases were identified because of the presence of a unique international system of surveillance and collaboration between public health authorities. (+info)
Needs assessment following hurricane Georges--Dominican Republic, 1998.
Hurricane Georges struck the Carribean Islands in September 1998, causing numerous deaths and extensive damage throughout the region. The Dominican Republic was hardest hit, with approximately 300 deaths; extensive infrastructure damage; and severe agricultural losses, including staple crops of rice, plantain, and cassava. Two months after the hurricane, the American Red Cross (ARC) was asked to provide food to an estimated 170,000 families affected by the storm throughout the country. To assist in directing relief efforts, CDC performed a needs assessment to estimate the food and water availability, sanitation, and medical needs of the hurricane-affected population. This report summarizes the results of that assessment, which indicate that, 2 months after the disaster, 40% of selected families had insufficient food > or =5 days per and 28% of families reported someone in need of medical attention. (+info)
Comparison of large restriction fragments of Mycobacterium avium isolates recovered from AIDS and non-AIDS patients with those of isolates from potable water.
We examined potable water in Los Angeles, California, as a possible source of infection in AIDS and non-AIDS patients. Nontuberculous mycobacteria were recovered from 12 (92%) of 13 reservoirs, 45 (82%) of 55 homes, 31 (100%) of 31 commercial buildings, and 15 (100%) of 15 hospitals. Large-restriction-fragment (LRF) pattern analyses were done with AseI. The LRF patterns of Mycobacterium avium isolates recovered from potable water in three homes, two commercial buildings, one reservoir, and eight hospitals had varying degrees of relatedness to 19 clinical isolates recovered from 17 patients. The high number of M. avium isolates recovered from hospital water and their close relationship with clinical isolates suggests the potential threat of nosocomial spread. This study supports the possibility that potable water is a source for the acquisition of M. avium infections. (+info)
High-performance liquid chromatography column switching applied to the trace determination of herbicides in environmental and drinking water samples.
A selective and sensitive coupled-column high-performance liquid chromatographic method is developed for the simultaneous determination of 5 phenylurea herbicides (monuron, linuron, isoproturon, monolinuron, and diuron) in environmental and drinking water samples. Sample clean-up is performed automatically by means of a column switching technique. Using 2 octadecyl silica columns connected via two programmable 6-port valves and ultraviolet detection at 244 nm, the aforementioned compounds can be determined at the low concentration levels required for pesticide residue analysis in water samples. A mobile phase consisting of a mixture of methanol-water (55:45, v/v) is pumped at 1 mL/min. For the 5 phenylureas, high recoveries ranging from 94.9 to 101.6%, good reproducibility with relative standard deviations lower than 5%, and wide linear ranges up to 20 micrograms/L are observed with determination limits of 0.05 microgram/L. The method is successfully applied to the screening of different environmental water samples such as surface, ground, rain, and drinking water. (+info)
Tetrachloroethylene-contaminated drinking water in Massachusetts and the risk of colon-rectum, lung, and other cancers.
We conducted a population-based case-control study to evaluate the relationship between cancer of the colon-rectum (n = 326), lung (n = 252), brain (n = 37), and pancreas (n = 37), and exposure to tetrachloroethylene (PCE) from public drinking water. Subjects were exposed to PCE when it leached from the vinyl lining of drinking-water distribution pipes. Relative delivered dose of PCE was estimated using a model that took into account residential location, years of residence, water flow, and pipe characteristics. Adjusted odds ratios (ORs) for lung cancer were moderately elevated among subjects whose exposure level was above the 90th percentile whether or not a latent period was assumed [ORs and 95% confidence intervals (CIs), 3.7 (1.0-11.7), 3.3 (0.6-13.4), 6.2 (1.1-31.6), and 19.3 (2.5-141.7) for 0, 5, 7, and 9 years of latency, respectively]. The adjusted ORs for colon-rectum cancer were modestly elevated among ever-exposed subjects as more years of latency were assumed [OR and CI, 1.7 (0.8-3.8) and 2.0 (0.6-5.8) for 11 and 13 years of latency, respectively]. These elevated ORs stemmed mainly from associations with rectal cancer. Adjusted ORs for rectal cancer among ever-exposed subjects were more elevated [OR and CI, 2.6 (0. 8-6.7) and 3.1 (0.7-10.9) for 11 and 13 years of latency, respectively] than were corresponding estimates for colon cancer [OR and CI, 1.3 (0.5-3.5) and 1.5 (0.3-5.8) for 11 and 13 years of latency, respectively]. These results provide evidence for an association between PCE-contaminated public drinking water and cancer of the lung and, possibly, cancer of the colon-rectum. (+info)
The role of humic substances in drinking water in Kashin-Beck disease in China.
We conducted in vitro and in vivo assays in a selenium-deficient system to determine if organic matter (mainly fulvic acid; FA) is involved in a free radical mechanism of action for Kashin-Beck disease. Cartilage cell culture experiments indicated that the oxy or hydroxy functional groups in FA may interfere with the cell membrane and result in enhancement of lipid peroxidation. Experiments with rats demonstrated that toxicity from FA was reduced when the hydroxy group was blocked. Induction of lipid peroxidation by FA in liver and blood of rats was similar to that exhibited by acetyl phenyl hydrazine. FA accumulated in bone and cartilage, where selenium rarely concentrates. In addition, selenium supplementation in rats' drinking water inhibited the generation of oxy-free radicals in bone. We hypothesized that FA in drinking water is an etiological factor of Kashin-Beck disease and that the mechanism of action involves the oxy and hydroxy groups in FA for the generation of free radicals. Selenium was confirmed to be a preventive factor for Kashin-Beck disease. (+info)
Eradicating guinea worm without wells: unrealized hopes of the Water Decade.
At the start of the United Nations International Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation Decade in the 1980s, guinea worm disease was targeted as the major indicator of the success of the Decade's efforts to promote safe water. By the late 1980s, most of the guinea worm endemic countries in Africa and South Asia had established guinea worm eradication programmes that included water supply as one of their main technical strategies. By surveying the water supply situation in Ifeloju Local Government Area (LGA) in Oyo State, Nigeria, in June 1996, as a case study, it was possible to determine the role that water supply has played in the eradication effort. Although two major agencies, the former Directorate for Food, Roads and Rural Infrastructure and UNICEF, provided hand dug and bore-hole wells respectively in many parts of the LGA, coverage of the smaller farm hamlets has been minor compared to efforts in the larger towns. This is ironic because the farm hamlets served as a reservoir for the disease in the 1980s, such that when the piped water system in the towns broke down, guinea worm was easily reintroduced into the towns. The survey of 188 ever-endemic hamlets with an estimated population of 23,556 found that 74.3% of the people still drink only pond water. Another 11.3% have wells that have become dysfunctional. Only 14.4% of this rural population has access' to functioning wells. Guinea worm was eliminated from 107 of the hamlets mainly by the use of cloth filters and chemical treatment of ponds. While this proves that it is possible to eradicate guinea worm, it fails to leave behind the legacy of reliable, safe water supplies that was the hope of the Water Decade. (+info)
Criteria for successful sanitation programmes in low income countries.
In the International Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation Decade (1981-90), the development of a consensus on the concept of sanitation and the planning and implementation of effective and efficient sanitation programmes was not emphasized. Yet lack of good sanitation is a growing burden and environmental threat. Significant improvement of human health cannot be achieved without good environmental sanitation conditions and practices. A consensus on what makes a sanitation programme successful can help to conserve limited funds and spend those available more wisely. It will also help to reduce the increasing flows of waste poisoning precious sources of drinking water. This article was written to stimulate discussion on what attributes can be taken as characteristic of good environmental sanitation programmes, and on which indicators can be used to assess those attributes in actual sanitation programmes. (+info)