« Home | Interview with avian flu guru, Robert Webster » | "Stupid about STDs" update » | Excellent post on the pandemic preparedness "snowb... » | "Endless diversity" in bacterial genomes? » | Iowa Citizens for Science group in the works » | Newsflash: People still stupid about STDs » | Some other great posts regarding pandemic flu » | Legionella identified as cause of "mystery outbrea... » | Pandemic influenza awareness week. Day 5: How re... » | Pandemic Influenza awareness week Day 4: 1918 infl... » 

Wednesday, October 12, 2005 

Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink

In the October issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, James Hughes and Jeffrey Koplan discuss the problem of safe water. Hazardous drinking water and poor sanitation is something that gets brought up when there's a disaster (like Katrina, or the tsunami earlier this year), but many people don't realize that a large portion of the earth's population has to deal with this situation everyday.

Unsafe water is a global public health threat, placing persons at risk for a host of diarrheal and other diseases as well as chemical intoxication. Unsanitary water has particularly devastating effects on young children in the developing world. Each year, >2 million persons, mostly children <5 years of age, die of diarrheal disease. For children in this age group, diarrheal disease accounted for 17% of all deaths from 2000 to 2003, ranking third among causes of death, after neonatal causes and acute respiratory infections. Severe, prolonged diarrheal disease can also lead to malnutrition and impaired physical and cognitive development. Nearly 90% of diarrhea-related deaths have been attributed to unsafe or inadequate water supplies and sanitation —conditions affecting a large part of the world's population. An estimated 1.1 billion persons (one sixth of the world's population) lack access to clean water and 2.6 billion to adequate sanitation.

(Emphasis mine). Just incredible. The rest of the article discusses activities targeted at addressing this travesty, but notes:

The United States currently ranks last among the 22 member countries of the Development Assistance Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in net official development assistance provided to developing countries, when such assistance is measured as a percentage of gross national income.

Again, this is an area where you can use your voice and your vote to help make a difference. For the amount of money spent on projects like this, the benefit is enormous.


About me

  • I'm Tara C. Smith
  • From Iowa, United States
  • I'm a mom and a scientist, your basic stressed-out, wanna-have-it-all-and-do-it-all Gen Xer. Recently transplanted from Ohio to Iowa, I've spent most of my life in the midwest (with 4 years of college spent out east in "soda" territory). My main interest, and the subject of my research, is infectious disease: how does the microbe cause illness? What makes one strain nasty, and another "avirulent?" Are the latter really not causing any disease, or could some of those be possible for the development of chronic disease years down the road? Additionally, I've spent a lot of time discussing the value of teaching evolution, and educating others about "intelligent design" and other forms of creationism. My interest in history of science and medicine is also useful as a way to tie all of the above interests together. [Disclaimer: the views here are solely my own, and do not represent my employer, my spouse, that guy who's always sitting by the fountain when I come into work, or anyone else with whom I may be remotely affiliated.]
My profile


Powered by Blogger
and Blogger Templates

Powered by Blogger

Creative Commons License
The Tangled Bank Locations of visitors to this page
Enter your email address below to subscribe to Aetiology!

powered by Bloglet

The Evolution Education Site Ring

This site ring is owned by John Stear

Previous Site

List Sites

Random Site

Join Ring

Next Site