The word ‘disease’ is a combination of two different words i.e., ‘dis’ and ‘ease’. So, the word ‘disease’ refers to ‘lack of ease (health)’. Disease is also defined as a condition of body in which its functions are disturbed. Diseases can be categorized into communicable (which can transmit from one person to another) and non-communicable (which cannot transmit from one person to another). Communicable diseases can further be categorized into other groups.
Among those groups, food and water borne diseases is also the one. There are many examples of food and water borne diseases. Some of the major ones are described below:
The scientific name of Roundworm (गोलोजुका) is Ascaris lumbricoides. Hence, the disease caused by Ascaris lumbricoides is called Ascariasis. The eggs enter into human stomach through faeco-oral routes. A matured female roundworm can lay more than 200 thousand eggs per day in human stomach. Those eggs come outside through stool. They enter into our body through dirty water, food and hand. After crossing various stages in its lifecycle, a matured roundworm starts to make the victim suffer. The following symptoms can be seen in a person, when s/he is affected by it:
- Abdominal pain and indigestion.
- Abdominal flatulence.
- Loss of appetite.
- Vomitting and sometimes appearance of roundworm in the vomit.
- Undigested and soft stool and appearance of roundworm in his/her stool.
- General physical weakness.
- Irritation around anus.
- Malnutrition is caused due to loss of appetite, indigestion and frequent passing of stool.
Occurrence of watery stool more than three to four times in a day is called diarrhoea. Though people of every ages may suffer from it, it mainly affects children. It is not caused by a single agent. Various bacteria like Gartner, Bacillus, E. coli etc. can become the cause of this disease. These bacteria enter into our stomach through faeco-oral route with the help of polluted water, food contaminated by flies etc.
When we suffer from this disease, the following symptoms can be seen:
- Abdominal pain and passing out of watery stool more than three to four times a day.
- Dehydration due to loss of water from body.
The following symptoms of dehydration can be seen in case of a person suffering from diarrhoea:
- Dryness in mouth and frequent thirst.
- Sunken eyes.
- Wrinkled skin.
- Muscles of hands and legs become very weak and start to cramp.
- Sunken head (तालु धसिने) in neo-natal baby.
Dysentery is a disease caused by virus and bacteria. Mucus and blood are seen in the stool of a person suffering from this disease. Dysentery is of two types, they are Amoebic and Bacillary. Both of them are transmitted through faeco-oral route. The descriptions of the types of dysentery are given below:
– Amoebic Dysentery: This dysentery is caused by ‘Entamoeba histolytica‘. The symptoms of Amoebic Dysentery are given below:
- Abdominal pain may be felt.
- Frequent desire for faecal discharge.
- White mucus is seen in stool.
- Patient becomes weak.
– Bacillary Dysentery: This type of dysentery is caused by ‘Shigella shiga‘. In Nepali, it is called Ragatmaasi (रगतमासी). The symptoms of this disease are listed below:
- Abdominal pain.
- Frequent passing of stool.
- Mucus with blood is seen.
- Frequent thirst and drying lips due to the loss of liquid substance.
‘Vibrio cholera‘ is the causative agent of the disease Cholera. In the past, it was taken as epidemic disease as it used to sweep away large number of people. It is quickly transmitted from one person to another. Food and water are the modes of transmission of this disease. The symptoms of cholera are:
- Watery stool without abdominal pain.
- Acute Dehydration
The following symptoms can be seen under acute dehydration:
- Thirsty feeling.
- Very few urination or sometimes no urination at all.
- Sunken eyes.
- Low blood pressure.
- Deep pulse.
Preventive Measures of Food and Water Borne Diseases
- Hands must be washed with soap and water before meal.
- Latrine should be used for urination and defecation and after these activities, hands should be washed with soap and water thoroughly.
- Uncontaminated water and food should be taken.
- Foods should be covered with lid to protect them from flies and cockroaches.
- Foods which are taken raw or cooked should be cleaned well before consumption.
- Stale and rotten foods which are contaminated by flies should be avoided.
- Environmental sanitation is a must.