Just what nasty bacteria is lurking in untreated water and how can it make you sick. Depending where you are in the world and local conditions there are many types of bacteria floating around in the water.

Some will just leave you with a bad stomach will others are of a more serious nature and if left untreated can ultimately be fatal.

Fasciolopsis bacteria

Fasciolopsis buski egg (Wikipedia)

Drinking dirty and untreated water is a not recommended but many infections coming from water only need contact with your skin to do the job.

The Good

I use good as a subjective term here for the water bugs that will at worst just leave you with an upset stomach and some sickness.

Human and animal waste is responsible for more than a few infections and when flooding has occurred this is a real problem as the overwhelmed sewage systems are flushed out onto the land.

Amoebiasis is caused by sewage or flies in drinking water and gives you a bad stomach, tiredness, fever and frequent trips to the toilet.

Get the Cyclosporiasis parasite and your days are going to be blessed with vomiting, fatigue and a fever.

One of the most common intestinal parasites Giardiasis is another bug caused by animal waste in drinking water, symptoms included Diarrhea and upset stomach.

These are among the hundreds of infections that will make you feel a bit rough for a few days and almost always dealt with by your own body’s immune system.

The Bad

Infections that are going to cause a few more problems than spending too much time in the bathroom.

Unhatched eggs or larvae in drinking water are a major problem for us fragile humans.

Taeniasis tapeworm eggs will cause intestinal upset, neurologic problems and weight loss.

Swallow the eggs from another tapeworm Hymenolepiasis and expect lots of weight loss, very painful stomach, nervous problems and a sore anus.

Upset tummy, being sick, diarrhea and even asthma attacks are all the joys of drinking Dracunculiasis larvae.

The Very Ugly

These are the ones you really don’t want to catch, get one of these little monsters and your life is going to get very very complicated.

Botulism is contracted by ingesting infected food or drinking water and can also get into cuts.  Symptoms are problems with vision, not being able to breath properly,  slurring speech and vomiting. Cause of Death is usually breathing failure.

Initial Symptoms for Cholera are nosebleeds, muscle cramps, fast heart beat, vomiting and severe diarrhea. In very bad cases the victim suffers from shock and dies within a day.

Without treatment Typhoid will start with a very high fever before moving on to make the liver and spleen expand, has been known to take up to a month for victims to die from the Typhoid infection.

So next time your staring down into a glass of cloudy water it might be a good idea to purify it before drinking.

Climber photo courtesy Wikipedia

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