The quality of water is very important when it comes to domestic use. This is basically its safety for drinking, bathing, and washing (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). The significance of this fact was observed in a waterborne issue which occurred in Milwaukee during which a flu-like symptom outbreak that attacked almost half a million people leaving about a hundred people dead (Arrandale). This paper aims to describe the water borne issue that occurred in Milwaukee in 1993 and explain the lifecycle of the causative agent.
The causative agent of the contamination in a water treatment plant in Milwaukee was a Cryptosporidium protozoa. It is transmitted through ingestion of water containing feces contaminated with the protozoa. In a water environment, cryptosporidium exists in a dormant yet very resilient form in the environment and it referred to as oocyst. After ingestion, the oocyte attacks the epithelial cells of the small intestines and then releases the four sporozoite bodies carried in it. These cells continue attacking more epithelial cells and multiply greatly leading to continuity of the cycle resulting to damage that interferes with the functioning of the intestines (Arrandale).
The effects of the outbreak caused illness of about 400,000 people. A part from personal costs, the health department also had to meet inpatient service costs, control and prevention, litigation as well as ambulance transport costs. There was also loss of productivity due to ill persons and those taking care of them. The incident forced the officials to renovate the water treatment plant which had lasted for 80 years (1993 Cryptosporidium Outbreak).
This outbreak taught the residents and the world at large that the supply of drinking water needs to be kept safe failure to which will affect the community’s health and hence its economy. Rules against Livestock grazing, logging, hunting, and fishing in the water bodies from which drinking water is drawn were passed. Water treatment alternatives are being put in place by Environment protection Agency (EPA) for the communities drawing water from heavily used lakes and rivers Such an alternative is a ‘’microbial toolbox’’ (1993 Cryptosporidium Outbreak).
Water science has provided many answers for problems associated with water such as that of Cryptosporium that shook the health and economy of Milwaukee city in 1993.The exposure of its life cycle as well as new methods of preventing infection is accredited to water science.