Parasites in drinking water: A mammoth health challenge

When drinking water is contaminated with parasites, they can cause minor harm to death it all depend on type and specie of parasite, load of parasite, and host immune resistance.

Parasites in drinking water A mammoth health challenge

Water is the precious gift from God and without water survival of living things are not possible on earth. Scientists are trying to found source of life on other planets but due to absence of water it is not possible. Living things need water for their survival because without water body function failed and water is also very important for other daily routine activities.

If water contaminated with disease causing organism it will cause disease in body. A parasite is an organism that lives on, or inside of, another organism. They can enter our body through food we eat and through liquid we drink, contact with animals, or even infected places.

Water borne parasites

The parasites are most common organisms which use water as a source to cause infection in host body. When drinking water is contaminated with parasites, they can cause minor harm to death it all depend on specie of parasite, load of parasite, host immune resistance.

Water borne diseases are conditions caused by pathogenic microorganisms that are transmitted in water. Disease can be spread while bathing, washing or drinking water, or by eating food exposed to infected water. But water-borne diseases are neglected diseases since very long time.  These water-borne disease parasites are present in the untreated water like lakes, rivers, and drinking water sources.

To prevent water borne diseases in human and animals different methods are used like, drinking water supply in large cities is keep away from sewerage lines because drinking water contamination with sewage water is best source of infection. The use of boiling and water filter plant reduces the chance of parasitic diseases.

At livestock farms control of hygiene condition are much difficult and in grazing animals’ exposure to water borne parasitic diseases is more compare to other livestock because animal drink rain water and feces contaminated water. So that, awareness about common water borne parasite is compulsory to avoid these parasite and also control prevalence of this parasite in population.

Common water borne parasites

Some common water borne parasite general introduction and there types are mentioned below to learn and eliminate these parasites, one must understand its mechanisms. This would lead to know how it could result in infection or lead to illnesses.


The Cryptosporidium parasite present in fresh water reservoirs like lakes and rivers while also present in sewage water and animal waste. It may be survive in water for long time without proper host. With treatment this disease may cure in one to two weeks but it can cause severe infection and even death in immune compromised population.

A number of Cryptosporidium species infect human and animals animals. The main species involve in disease causing are C. parvum, C. homini, C. felis, C. canis, C. muri and, C. meleagridis. This parasite affect gastrointestinal tract and respiratory system at primary stage infection involve watery diarrhea with or without persistent cough.

Giardia Intestinalis

Giardia intestinalis is also called giardia it is a protozoan parasite. It can spread very easily in young age and it may live for several months in water reservoirs. When it get enter in stomach then it develop in to adult protozoa and attach with small intestine where it start producing more cysts and these cysts become develop in to adult parasite so increase in no of parasite is directly proportional to severity of disease. When symptoms occur they may include diarrhea, abdominal pain, and weight loss Vomiting, blood in the stool, and fever are less common. Symptoms usually begin 1 to 3 weeks after exposure and without treatment may last up to six week.

Toxoplasma gondii         

This is one of the most common parasitic infections of man and other warm-blooded animals. It is believed to infect up to one-third of the global population. This infection may cause symptoms in infants especially with the weakened immune system and less to no indicators in adults. Toxoplasmosis may develop to patients, which is a serious and sometimes fatal disease.

Infection can spread through contaminated dirt and water, fruits and vegetables, undercooked meat, organ transplant, blood transfusions, and cat feces. This parasite enters the bloodstream once ingested. When a person has a healthy immune system, it prevents him to acquire the further infection.

Dracunculus Medinensis

A kind of parasite that is classified as helminth nematode also known as a type of roundworm. It feeds on a living host to gain nourishment and protection while causing poor nutrient absorption, weakness and causes illness in the host.

These parasites can lead to Guinea worm disease or dracunculiasis. When people swallow these parasites found in drinking water, larvae move from the intestines to the skin, where they cause sores. Treatment is required before worms can be removed from the skin. Take note; this can take up to years to get rid the symptoms.

Entamoeba histolytica

Entamoeba histolytica, or E. histolytica, can cause amoebiasis, or amebic dysentery. These amoeba parasites are normally ingested in drinking water contaminated with fecal matter. The fecal matter originally contains the amoeba.

This article is jointly written by Muhammad Shafi Hasni*, Muhammad Kasib Khan, Amir Munir, Saria Gul, and Saima Ismail from Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan. Corresponding Author* can be reached at

Shafi hasni

PhD Scholar

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  • December 2, 2018 at 2:50 pm



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