Waterborne Diseases

Waterborne diseases are those in which the consumption of or exposure to water and/or water systems lead to illness. Common waterborne diseases include, but are not limited to, giardiasis, cryptosporidiosis, vibriosis, shigellosis, and legionellosis. Gastrointestinal, respiratory, and wound infections are typical signs and symptoms of these diseases. These diseases implicate compromised water sanitation and safety that have the potential to affect a large number of people. ADPH is committed to keeping you informed of potential risks that lead to waterborne illnesses; investigating transmission of pathogens that may result in such illnesses; and implementing strategies that will reduce the spread of further sickness.

Spotlight: Beach Fun and Safety

Planning a trip to one of Alabama's coastal beaches? Be sure to visit the Coastal Alabama Beach Monitoring Program page for details on routine sample testing results that assess water quality. Additionally, the beach flag warning system and weather forecast of coastal areas are useful tools to keep swimmers educated in preparation for beach trips. 

Vibriosis Surveillance in Alabama

Vibriosis is a reportable condition in Alabama. Necrotizing fasciitis (NF), a severe infection commonly referred to in media reports as ‘flesh-eating bacteria’, is not reportable. NF can result from different bacterial pathogens, including Vibrio and Vancomycin-Intermediate/Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (VISA/VRSA). During routine disease surveillance, complications that result from Vibrio infection may occur after patient interviews, and therefore may not be reported. Specimen sites provide insight into the type of infections cases may have experienced. These are illustrated in the table below.

Reported Specimen Sites for Alabama Vibriosis Cases, by MMWR Year

Specimen Site*

2017

2018

2019¥

Blood or other normally sterile

2

4

1

Gastrointestinal (GI)

10

20

10

Skin or soft tissue (SST)

11

12

3

Multiple

1

0

0

Other, non-sterile

2

1

2

Unknown

0

1

1

Total

26

38

17

Note:Collection of these data began in calendar year 2017. Data for specimen sites before 2017 are not available. 

*Specimen site category definitions:
1. Blood or other normally sterile site: blood, cerebrospinal fluid, peritoneal fluid, lumbar disc fluid, lymph node, bullae
2. Gastrointestinal site: stool, bile, appendix, rectum, gall bladder, colon
3. Multiple sites: specimen sites do not fall into a single category
4. Other, non-sterile site: urine, sputum, aspirate, bronchial washing, effusion, catheter, endotracheal, eye, nasal, placenta, respiratory, sinus, tonsil
5. Skin or soft tissue site: wound, ear (other than otitis media and middle ear, which are included in 'other, non-sterile site'), appendage, tissue
6. Unknown: no specimen site was reported or clinical specimen testing was not performed

¥ Year-to-date counts - these counts will be updated by the 7th day of each month.

 

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Water Safety During an Emergency

 





Page last updated: July 23, 2019