Illnesses Caused By Sewage And How To Avoid Them


Currently, a high percentage of the world’s population suffers from diseases caused by sewage and the pollution of this resource. Water is an essential resource for life, so the survival of human beings depends on it. There is no human activity in which this natural resource is not involved, however, it is sometimes very difficult for marginalised and low-income populations to have access to good quality drinking water sources.

In towns where infrastructure is almost non-existent and drainage is exposed, sewage control does not exist, making it a fast and effective vector for the transmission of dangerous and life-threatening diseases

What is sewage?

Blackwater, by definition, is wastewater whose quality is negatively affected by the presence of organic matter contaminants, such as faeces, urine, and other waste. 

They are also known by the name drainage water, served, or sewage. Containing organic remains, they are delicate to handle, as they become the perfect vehicle for parasites, viruses, and bacteria that result in diseases caused by sewage.

Some of the diseases that can be acquired by being in contact with this type of polluted water are:

Ankylostomiasis: It is caused by intestinal parasites. This infection is characterised by abdominal pain, diarrhoea, anaemia, and loss of appetite, therefore also resulting in weight loss. 

If not taken proper care, it can become deadly.

Ascariasis: It is caused by a round parasite called Ascaris lumbricoides. 

The larvae of this worm can move throughout the body, causing damage to other organs, nutritional deficiencies, and intestinal blockages.

Cholera: It is one of the most common sewage diseases and is the result of bacteria. 

It is characterised by acute vomiting, diarrhoea, and intense cramps. The cause of death is not the disease itself, but the complications due to delay in hours if there is no immediate treatment.

Cyanobacterial toxins: Some of the symptoms of this disease are stomach infection and skin problems, such as rashes. It can turn fatal if not treated on time.

Giardiasis: This disease is caused by parasites that lodge in the small intestine. They cause severe diseases like diarrhoea, fatigue, abdominal pain, gas, and nausea.

Hepatitis: It is another of the most common diseases caused by sewage since a virus causes inflammation of the liver. 

It begins with a high fever, nausea, loss of appetite, abdominal discomfort, and jaundice. It May cause irreversible liver damage.

Diarrhoea: It is caused by various bacterial infections. This disease can cause dehydration and shock. 

It is very dangerous for children, weak people due to malnutrition, or people with a weak immune system.

Dysentery: This disease is of bacterial origin, this infection causes severe diarrhoea. Children are more vulnerable to suffering from it and must be treated in time.

The magnitude of the problem

According to data from the World Health Organisation, it is estimated that in developing countries the main cause of infant death is diseases caused by sewage, the main one being diarrhoea, while 4 of the most common diseases are transmitted through this resource. 

Globally, diarrhoea is the 6th leading cause of environment-related deaths. This means that approximately 1.7 million deaths in children under 5 years of age are related to gastrointestinal diseases caused by drinking contaminated water. 

The figures are alarming and continue to increase, especially in these countries with few resources and emerging economies, but it can also occur in rural areas of any other region or country. The problem lies in the inability to access safe drinking water sources,

How to avoid diseases caused by sewage?

  1. First of all, it is essential to have an adequate wastewater treatment system or to dispose of organic waste safely. In rural areas, where there is no access to the drainage, sewage, and sewage systems, it is possible to install biodigesters, which treat sewage naturally and efficiently.
  2. The construction of cesspools and other obsolete sewage management systems should be avoided, as these are rarely built with adequate sanitary measures, and cracks, overflows, and leaks are common, so the sewage ends up contaminating the land and underground water bodies.
  3. Purifying all the water used at home is necessary. This includes the water used to wash and prepare food as well as the water used to brush your teeth. If it is obtained from natural sources such as rivers and wells, it is recommended to strain through a fine cloth and then pass through a purification system. For this, different filters and purifiers can be used.  Water purifiers give drinkable water in excellent condition.They are not easy to install in your home contact professional ro services for installation
  4. Avoid drinking water or juice in places that do not have the necessary infrastructure, for example, places on the street since it is difficult to know where the water used to make them comes from. It is better to consume juices and food in establishments that have adequate health standards.
  5. Wash your hands every time you handle food, touch animals, change diapers, go to the bathroom, and do other activities in which your hands come into contact with surfaces that could be contaminated.
  6. Wash and disinfect fruits and vegetables before consuming them. They can be contaminated by irrigation water.
  7. Get vaccinated. Today it is possible to be vaccinated against hepatitis and other diseases caused by sewage. Do not risk or put at stake the health of the little ones.
  8. Avoid bathing in rivers, wells, and even swimming pools where there are no safety and hygiene measures. You don’t know if the water is contaminated.
  9. Avoid using swimming pools, or public toilets if you have diarrhoea or some other illness because you can spread the bacteria or virus.


Fighting diseases caused by sewage is everyone’s task, so it is important to be informed and manage the waste properly. The only way to gradually reduce the incidence of these diseases is to improve people’s hygiene behaviours and habits, providing them with the most basic needs, drinking water, washing, and bathing services, as well as sanitation. Clean water is a fundamental requirement for the reduction of waterborne diseases. Without these minimum requirements, the risk of waterborne diseases will certainly increase.


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