4th UF Water Institute Symposium Abstract

Submitter's Name Raina Zantout
Session Name Poster Session: Water quality protection and treatment
Poster Number 67
Author(s) Raina Zantout,  University of Florida (Presenting Author)
  Water Systems Management and Diarrheal Incidence during the Monsoon Season in India
  India’s largest environmental burden of disease is diarrhea. The prevalence of diarrheal disease is exacerbated by flooding during the six-month monsoon season, overcrowding, and lack of adequate water and sanitation systems. A direct correlation exists between rain and flooding during the monsoon season and increases in cases of water- and vector-borne diseases, specifically diarrhea, cholera and leptospirosis. This study examines literature on the seasonality of diarrheal and other communicable diseases and the effectiveness of infrastructural interventions in India to curb their prevalence. Articles were identified using PubMed, Lancet and JSTOR databases, using terms such as “diarrheal disease,” “epidemics after floods,” and “environmental health risks.” Research indicates that there has been a seasonal increase in the number of cases of diarrheal and other diseases since the mid-1990s. Leptospirosis and cholera outbreaks often occur after major floods. Persons living in overcrowded or unhygienic areas are at higher risk for contracting diarrheal and other diseases due to lack of access to potable water and improved sanitation. Open defection, reportedly practiced by 50-60% of India’s population, increases the risk for pathogenic transmission. Flooding exacerbates this risk when unimproved water sources are contaminated by runoff. In rural and urban areas, human and animal fecal matter mix with floodwaters and contaminate rivers and ponds. Moreover, India’s potable water supply system often becomes damaged during floods. The consumption of contaminated water due to pipeline leakages and run-off causes hundreds of cases of diarrheal disease during the monsoon season. This study concludes that flood-resistant water systems may help reduce the prevalence of diarrheal and other communicable diseases in India. An impenetrable water supply system, coupled with an effective storm water system, would steer contaminated groundwater away from people and unprotected water sources while providing protection for improved water sources that are safe for consumption.