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Most Common Waterborne Diseases - Overview 

Every year, water-borne diseases affect millions of people around the world. People get infected with these water-borne diseases when they consume or come into contact with contaminated water. This mainly happens in developing countries where people do not have access to clean drinking water and are forced to use polluted water sources. The most common water-borne diseases are diarrhoea, typhoid, cholera, etc. Here’s a deep dive into water-borne diseases and how to keep yourself protected against them.

What are Water Borne Diseases?

In simple terms, water-borne diseases are those illnesses that are caused by drinking or coming into contact with water contaminated with dangerous viruses or bacteria or other micro-organisms.  As mentioned above, people often get infected with these diseases when they have to drink or use contaminated water due to not having access to clean and treated water. It is therefore recommended that you do not drink water that is visibly polluted or comes from an unknown source. If you are going out of your house for long periods, it is important to carry bottled water. 

List of Common Water Borne Diseases

You can take a look at the most common water borne illnesses and their symptoms below: 

  • Salmonella 

Salmonella spreads among humans through food or water that is contaminated with faecal matter. Some types of undercooked meats, eggs, fruits or vegetables can also contain the salmonella bacteria. While most affected people do not experience heavy symptoms, children, pregnant women and the elderly are at the highest risk of developing complications. The symptoms of salmonella include headache, diarrhoea, blood in stools, dehydration, and more. You can prevent this disease by regularly washing your hands, properly washing and cooking all of your food and avoiding contact with birds or reptiles. 

  • Hepatitis A

A common water borne disease is Hepatitis A, which is a type of infection that affects a person’s liver. People can contract this disease by coming into contact with an infected patient or by consuming food or water that has been contaminated. Hepatitis A is more common in countries that have poor sanitation and hygiene management. The symptoms of Hepatitis A include fatigue, jaundice, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, fever, loss of appetite, etc. 

  • E. Coli 

E. Coli is a bacterial infection that happens when people consume foods or water that are contaminated with the E. Coli bacteria. The infection is generally not deadly. However, this disease may be more dangerous for young children and the elderly. The symptoms of E. Coli include diarrhoea, nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, etc. In order to prevent this disease, ensure that your water comes from clean sources and that you consume properly-cooked food to reduce the risk of infection. 

  • Cholera 

Cholera is an infectious water-borne disease that is common in areas with poor sanitation. This disease can cause severe dehydration and diarrhoea, and around 1 out of 10 infected patients can develop life-threatening complications. Cholera can become fatal within just a few days or even a few hours of being exposed to the infection. 

  • Typhoid 

Typhoid is a type of bacterial infection common in developing countries but extremely rare in industrialised and developed nations. It is a highly contagious disease which is contracted by consuming contaminated water and food and spreads due to poor sanitation. The symptoms of typhoid include muscle pain, fatigue, fever, diarrhoea or constipation, sweating, and more. The best way to avoid this disease is to eat home-cooked food and only consume treated water from safe sources. If one is hospitalised, treatment can get expensive; therefore, it is suggested to get an  insurance cover for typhoid.


These water-borne diseases are transmitted through contaminated water, leading to infections. The main reason behind the spread of these diseases is the lack of clean drinking water which forces people to use contaminated sources of water. Moreover, poor personal hygiene is also a factor in the spread of these diseases. 

Mitigation and Prevention 

Here are a few useful tips you can implement to protect yourself and your loved ones against these common water-borne diseases: 

  • Frequently wash your hands with soap periodically throughout the day, especially after using the toilet. 

  • Clean your toilet and bathroom on a regular basis with disinfectant to avoid the buildup of germs and bacteria. 

  • Drink water only from a clean source such as from the filter in your house, or packaged mineral water. Avoid drinking water directly from the taps. Do not consume any water outside of your house unless you know it comes from a safe and filtered source. 

  • Wash all of your fruits, vegetables and meats properly before cooking. Ensure that you cook them properly so that any remaining microorganisms in the foods are killed. Do not cook or consume food that has visibly gone bad or has been sitting around in your house for many days. 

  • If any member of your family has contracted one of the common water-borne diseases, it is a good idea to keep them isolated until they’ve recovered to reduce the risk of infection spreading to others. 

Final Takeaway 

Now that you are aware of the most common water borne illnesses and how they spread, you can take the right precautionary measures. The most important aspect in the prevention of these most common water-borne diseases is having access to clean drinking water and consuming food that has been thoroughly cleaned and cooked. At Bajaj MARKETS, we have a range of insurance plans that will assist you during emergencies. So, head over to the 'Pocket Insurance' page and explore them now.

FAQs on Most Common Waterborne Diseases

  • ✔️ What are the most common waterborne diseases?

    Here is a list of common water-borne diseases: 

    • Salmonella 

    • Hepatitis A 

    • E. Coli 

    • Typhoid 

    • Cholera

  • ✔️Can waterborne diseases be treated at home?

    No. If you suspect that you are suffering from any kind of water-borne disease, you should immediately visit your doctor to seek the right treatment.

  • ✔️Can I get buy an insurance policy for typhoid disease?

    Yes, many insurers provide insurance cover for typhoid that can help you cover the treatment costs.

  • ✔️What should I do if am in an area that does not have clean drinking water?

     If you are travelling to such an area, it is best to carry your own bottled water from home. You can also buy a few packaged mineral water bottles before entering the area.

  • ✔️Can I buy waterborne diseases insurance online?

    Yes, you can buy the ‘Water-Borne Diseases Insurance’ online at Bajaj MARKETS in a swift and hassle-free manner.