With its many uses for drinking, recreation, sanitation, hygiene, and industry, water is our most precious global resource. Clean and safe drinking water is critical to sustain human life and without it waterborne illness can be a serious problem. Water, which is necessary for recreational water activities like swimming, also helps promote healthy living. Often, water’s vital role is most apparent during an emergency or disaster. We launched the Healthy Water website to provide answers to your water-related questions.
Public water systems, private water systems, water fluoridation, camping, hiking, travel...
Pools and spas, oceans/lakes/rivers, injury and skin cancer, recreational water illnesses...
Community systems, household treatment & storage, sanitation and hygiene, travelers’ health...
Top Causes of Drinking and Recreational Water Outbreaks*
For a complete listing of water-related surveillance data, see CDC’s Surveillance Summaries for Waterborne Disease and Outbreaks.
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* Based on tracking of waterborne outbreaks from 1971-2010. Only confirmed causes have been included in the analyses. For outbreaks with multiple causes, each agent counted toward the total. Outbreak reporting is dependent on capacity to detect, investigate, and report the outbreaks. This requires health effects to be measured and these health effects to be easily linked to water exposure. Clusters of illnesses associated with chronic chemical exposures are not part of waterborne disease outbreak reporting or part of these lists.
- Page last reviewed: October 4, 2016
- Page last updated: October 4, 2016
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