Water and Health

prof. Gertjan Medema

Safe water is essential to our society. Water systems should protect society against the spread of infectious diseases. New pathogens emerge (like SARS, new (avian) influenza viruses). They emphasize the vulnerability of our densely populated society to infectious diseases and highlight the importance of knowledge about the pathogens, their possible pathways and effective management. In our densely populated country, the burden on the environment with pathogenic micro-organisms is high and the possibilities for exposure to these pathogens are also many. The conventional exposure through drinking water is well under control, but other water uses (such as bathing) are not. Moreover, we are inventing new concepts for dealing with water in our society (wastewater reuse, water in cities, etc.). These provide new niches for pathogens and new routes of exposure to pathogens.

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