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11 Common Waterborne Diseases: Symptoms and Prevention

Disease which are commonly found in water.

by Jeremiah Castelo/

Water certainly is the source of life.

But with the potential to harbor pathogens that can cause serious harm to the human body, careful precautions must be taken in determining when it is safe to drink and when it isn’t.

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The World Health Organization states that more than 3.4 million people die from water borne diseases every year, making it the leading cause of disease and death in the world (Berman, 2009).

The pathogens responsible for these diseases come in the form of viruses, bacteria, or protozoa, all of which are invisible to the naked eye.

In this article, we’ve covered the 11 most common waterborne diseases, their symptoms and causes, along with which purification method can best eliminate them.

The World Health Organization states that more than 3.4 million people die from water borne diseases every year, making it the leading cause of disease and death in the world

Viruses

Viruses are infectious agents that are very diverse in shape, structure, and behavior, and can only replicate itself when inside the cell of an organism. Once a cell’s nucleus becomes infected with a virus, that infected cell then reproduces identical copies of itself at an alarming rate, with the ultimate goal of taking over the entire system. Viruses can infect humans, animals, plants, and even bacteria.

A healthy human body will produce an immune response to a viral infection, ultimately eliminating the virus. These immune responses can also be produced by vaccines which build immunity to specific viruses. While anti-viral medications can be used to treat viral infections, antibiotics have no effect on viruses.

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Pathogen: Norovirus

Disease: Gastroenteritis (Traveler’s Disease)

Effective Water Purification Methods:

  • Iodine Treatment
  • Solar Purification
  • Boiling
  • Distillation
  • Chlorination
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Ultra-Violet Light

More commonly known as Hong Kong Dog, Delhi-belly, Aztec Two-Step, or Traveler’s Disease, Gastroenteritis infects 20% to 50% of international travelers each year.

Norovirus, the virus responsible for the estimated 10 million cases of diarrhea each year, is a highly contagious disease that attacks the digestive system and is typically transmitted through infected food and water or contact with infected surfaces.

The virus, once inside the body, disrupts the digestive tract causing loose stool and abdominal cramps. The intestines and stomach become inflamed, causing severe stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and fever.

Symptoms usually develop 12 to 48 hours after infection and cease after 1 to 3 days with a competent immune system. The virus is more likely to cause dehydration in older adults, younger children, or those with other illnesses due to excessive vomiting and diarrhea (CDC, 2018).

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Pathogen: HAV (Hepatitis A Virus)

Disease: Hepatitis A

Effective Water Purification Methods:

  • Iodine Treatment
  • Solar Purification
  • Boiling
  • Distillation
  • Chlorination
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Ultra-Violet Light

Hepatitis A is a communicable liver disease usually transmitted through fecal matter in contaminated food and water. Those who travel to places where Hepatitis A is common and not properly treated are at much higher risk of infection.

Symptoms can be mild, lasting several weeks, or can be severe enough to last months. They usually occur within 2 to 6 weeks of infection and can include tiredness, muscle soreness, loss of appetite, fever, stomach ache, light-colored stool, dark yellow urine and yellowish skin. In rare cases, Hepatitis A can cause liver failure and death, but is more common with the elderly or with those compromised immune systems (CDC, 2017).

The antibodies produced as a result of the infection last for a lifetime and help protect the body against reinfection of the virus.

Protozoa

Protozoa are single-celled eukaryotes which feed on organic matter and can either be free-living or parasitic. They are similar to algae but too small to be seen without a microscope. Parasites are a type of protozoa which thrive at the expense of a host and usually dwell in fecal matter. They can often live within a host undetected for long periods of time due to their resilient nature.

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Pathogen: Cryptosporidium

Disease: Cryptosporidiosis

Effective Water Purification Methods:

  • Specified Filters
  • Boiling
  • Distillation
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Ultra-Violet Light

Cryptosporidiosis is a diarrheal disease caused by a microscopic parasite called Cryptosporidium. This parasite is protected by an outer shell which allows it to survive outside of a host for long periods of time, making it resistant to chlorine treatment.  “Crypto,” as both parasite and disease are commonly known, lives in the intestines of infected humans and animals and is carried through the stool. Crypto is typically transmitted through coming into contact with water that has been contaminated with fecal matter containing the parasite.

Crypto is recognized as one of the most common water borne diseases in the United States, with an estimated 748,000 cases occurring annually. Though usually found in both recreational and drinking water, the virus also transmits through dirty swimming water, uncooked contaminated food, and close contact with infected people or animals.

The most common symptoms of infection are stomach cramps, watery diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and weight loss. Symptoms usually begin 7 days after infection and can last up to 2 weeks. Those with weakened immune systems are likely to develop more severe and even life-threatening illnesses (CDC, 2017).

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Pathogen: Giardia

Disease: Giardiasis

Effective Water Purification Methods:

  • Specified Filters
  • Chlorination (45 min.)
  • Iodine Treatment (50 min.)
  • Boiling
  • Distillation
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Ultra-Violet Light

Giardia is a highly communicable microscopic parasite usually found in soil and contaminated human feces. Though its main mode of transmission is through contaminated water, it is also typically found on food and unsanitary surfaces. Like Crypto, Giardia also has a protective shell, allowing it to survive harsher conditions and making it more tolerant to certain disinfection methods such as chlorination. In order to kill Giardia through chlorination, allow the water to sit for 45 minutes, rather than the standard 30 minutes. For iodine, it’s 50 minutes.

Giardiasis, the disease which Giardia causes, is a global disease. It infects 2% of adults and 6 to 8% of children in developed countries worldwide, and hospitalizes about 5,000 people in the United States every year.

Children in childcare settings, outdoorsmen who drink unsafe water, and international travelers are at higher risk for Giardia infection. Symptoms usually start 1 to 3 weeks after infection and can include fatigue, vomiting, nausea, loss of appetite, greasy stools, diarrhea, bloating, excessive gas, abdominal pain, and headaches (CDC, 2015).

Bacteria

A bacterium, singular for bacteria, is a single-celled organism that lives as part of a colony whose numbers can reach into the billions. They are found in almost every environment on earth and can withstand a wide range of conditions and temperatures. Bacteria aren’t necessarily harmful to the human system. In fact, tens of trillions of microorganisms which include over 1000 different species of bacteria are responsible for the proper and healthy functioning of our digestive tract (Gut Microbiota).

Bacteria are extremely adaptable and can build resistance to antibiotics over time. Due the increased amount of processed foods that humans have consumed through recent years, digestive tract bacteria have adapted to use both organic and inorganic material as a food source.

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Pathogen: Campylobacter Jejuni

Disease: Campylobacteriosis

Effective Water Purification Methods:

  • Specified Filters
  • Iodine Treatment
  • Solar Purification
  • Boiling
  • Distillation
  • Chlorination
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Ultra-Violet Light

Though most commonly transmitted through eating raw or uncooked poultry, Campylobacter can also be transmitted through contaminated water, contaminated food, contact with animals, and drinking unpasteurized milk.

With a strong enough immune system, it is possible not to show symptoms at all after becoming infected. However, for those with weakened immune systems, such as people with AIDS, blood disorders, or those receiving chemotherapy, Campylobacter can spread into the blood stream, causing a life-threatening infection.

Symptoms of the disease are diarrhea, fever, stomach cramps, and vomiting, and typically start within 2 to 5 days after the infection.

About 1 in 1000 people who are infected with Campylobacter can develop GBS, a more serious disease that affects the immune system.

Most people recover from the disease within a week, although the bacteria may remain in the stool for several weeks, posing risk for further person-to-person transmission.

Though not often fatal, this bacterium is one of the four most common cause of diarrhea around the world. Every year, it affects around 1.3 million people in the US and 550 million people globally. For reasons unknown, Campylobacter infection has been increasing in developed countries for the past several years (CDC, 2017).

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Pathogen: Legionella

Disease: Legionnaires’ Disease

Effective Water Purification Methods:

  • Specified Filters
  • Iodine Treatment
  • Solar Purification
  • Boiling
  • Distillation
  • Chlorination
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Ultra-Violet Light

Legionnaires’ disease is a type of pneumonia caused by Legionella, a bacterium found in fresh water environments such as lakes and streams. It becomes a health concern when the bacteria make its way into human-made water systems such as water tanks, hot tubs, plumbing systems, and showerheads and faucets. It thrives in water temperatures between 95 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit.

Unlike most water borne diseases, Legionnaires’ disease isn’t transmitted by direct human contact, but through tiny water droplets in the air, or mist. A person becomes infected when the water droplets are breathed in and enter the lungs.

Legionella derived its name from its first outbreak in 1976, when 129 out of 2000 people who attended an American Legion convention became infected. Among those infected, 29 died. In the US, there are between 8,000 are 18,000 reported cases of Legionnaire’s disease every year. About 10% of those who contract the disease die.

Many people who are exposed to the bacteria may not even develop the disease. However, there are risk factors that increase the likelihood of infection such as old age, chronic lung disease, smoking, and a poor immune system. Symptoms of the disease include cough, fever, muscle pains, shortness of breath, vomiting, and occasionally, diarrhea.

There is no known vaccine to immunize from the disease. Taking clean water precautions, especially with drinking water, is a one way to prevent exposure. If infected, antibiotics and hospitalization will be required (CDC, 2018).

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Pathogen: Shigella

Disease: Shigellosis (Dysentery)

Effective Water Purification Methods:

  • Specified Filters
  • Iodine Treatment
  • Solar Purification
  • Boiling
  • Distillation
  • Chlorination
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Ultra-Violet Light

Commonly known as dysentery, Shigellosis is a highly contagious water borne disease caused by Shigella, a kind of bacteria that thrives in fecal matter. Transmission can occur through drinking contaminated water or when a person puts infected material in his/her mouth. Frequent handwashing is an effective way of limiting Shigella transmission.

Symptoms begin 1 or 2 days after exposure to the bacteria, and resolve within 5 to 7 days with a healthy immune system. Some might not show any symptoms at all but are still capable of transmitting it to others.

Infected people will show symptoms of fever, stomach pains, and diarrhea. Those who are more likely to contract the disease are young children, travelers, and those with weakened immune systems.

The Shigella bacteria can cause severe complications like dehydration, rectal bleeding, and seizures in small children. The most severe of complications is death by contamination of the bloodstream. Of the 700,000 deaths each year, most of these fatalities happen in developing countries where there are very few water treatment programs and where sanitation is a constant challenge.

An estimated 18,000 cases of Shigellosis occur in the United States every year (CDC, 2018).

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Pathogen: Salmonella

Disease: Salmonellosis

Effective Water Purification Methods:

  • Specified Filters
  • Iodine Treatment
  • Solar Purification
  • Boiling
  • Distillation
  • Chlorination
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Ultra-Violet Light

Discovered by American scientist, Dr. Salmon, salmonella is a bacterium that thrives in fecal matter and is transmitted through raw meat, raw eggs, fruits and vegetables, and contaminated water. Those at higher risk for infection are those who travel internationally, those who own birds or reptiles, and those with bowel disorders and weakened immune systems.

Drinking water becomes contaminated when wild animals defecate into streams and rivers

People who develop salmonellosis will show signs of diarrhea, chills, abdominal cramps, and fever. The fever can last up to seven days and with adequate hydration, most people can recover without medical intervention.

Every year, out of the 1.2 million people who get infected, 23,000 need hospitalization (CDC, 2018).

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Pathogen: Salmonella Typhi

Disease: Typhoid Fever

Effective Water Purification Methods:

  • Specified Filters
  • Iodine Treatment
  • Solar Purification
  • Boiling
  • Distillation
  • Chlorination
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Ultra-Violet Light

Salmonella Typhi is the bacteria that causes typhoid fever. Globally, it causes roughly 17 million infections and 200,000 deaths every year. A subspecies of the Salmonella bacterium, salmonella typhi can only affect humans and is more common in developing countries where hygiene is poor.

There are about 400 reported cases of Typhoid Fever in the United States every year, 75% of which are due to international travel.

Salmonella typhi grows in the intestines and blood and is transmitted through water or food contaminated with the feces of an infected person. A typical contamination process is when stool, buried in the soil, comes into contact with a close water source, usually a deep well. The water supply, when contaminated, can also contaminate the food. The bacteria can survive for many weeks in water or even in a dried sewage.

Symptoms can appear anywhere from 6 to 30 days after exposure and can include fever as high as 104 degrees Fahrenheit, abdominal pain, lethargy, diarrhea, severe headaches and poor appetite. If not treated immediately, typhoid fever can be fatal in up to 20% of infected people. When traveling to countries where typhoid is rampant, prior vaccination is highly recommended (CDC, 2018).

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Pathogen: Vibrio Cholerae

Disease: Cholera

Effective Water Purification Methods:

  • Specified Filters
  • Iodine Treatment
  • Solar Purification
  • Boiling
  • Distillation
  • Chlorination
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Ultra-Violet Light

Vibrio Cholerae is the bacteria responsible for cholera outbreaks. Cholera is a highly infectious disease that was prevalent in the 1800s when proper water treatment systems were not yet in place. Though rare in the United States today, cholera is still pervasive in developing countries with poor sewage systems.

Every year, around 150,000 cases of the disease is reported by the World Health Organization. With a 1% mortality rate, cholera treatment has gained significant headway as of recent years. However, if left untreated, the chances of dying increase to 60%.

Once infected, the common symptoms are diarrhea, dehydration, muscle cramps, rapid heart rate, low blood pressure, loss of skin elasticity, and excessive thirst. Without proper treatment death can occur within just a few hours (CDC, 2018).

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Pathogen: Escherichia Coli

Disease: Verotoxic E. Coli

Effective Water Purification Methods:

  • Specified Filters
  • Iodine Treatment
  • Solar Purification
  • Boiling
  • Distillation
  • Chlorination
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Ultra-Violet Light

Escherichia Coli, more commonly known as E. Coli, is a type of bacteria that lives in the intestines of humans and animals. Though most strains of e. coli are harmless, some can cause serious damage in the form of Verotoxic E. Coli, which infects around 100,000 people and kills 90 every year in the US.

Once infected, symptoms usually start within 3-4 days of exposure and can include abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting and fever. Those with healthy immune systems usually heal within 5 to 7 days. If left untreated, those with compromised immune systems can escalate into dehydration, intestinal infection, kidney failure and death.

The disease is usually transmitted through unsafe handling of food and through contaminated water. Poor sanitation can move the bacteria from humans or animals into the water stream (CDC, 2018).

Conclusion

Waterborne pathogens are everywhere but it is up to us to ensure we take the proper precautions to reduce the risk of exposure. Even though those in developed parts of the world have the privilege of modern infrastructure and sanitation systems, there can never be a 100% guarantee that all of the water we come into contact with will be pathogen free. One crack in a water pipe can put the entire water supply at risk of exposure.

When traveling, camping, or preparing for water storage at home, proper knowledge of the potential risks at hand is essential. When overseas, only drink water from trusted, properly sealed bottled sources. When unsure of the quality of a water source, always err on the side of caution and avoid it or apply the proper purification methods. Be aware and informed and keep yourselves and your family safe.

Thank you for taking the time to read our article on common waterborne diseases. We’d love to hear your feedback in the comments section below. If you’ve found this article to be useful and are interested in learning more, be sure to sign up for our newsletter.

OCTOBER 15, 2018

References:

Berman, J. (2009, October 29). WHO: Waterborne Disease is World’s Leading Killer. Retrieved from https://www.voanews.com/a/a-13-2005-03-17-voa34-67381152/274768.html

CDC. (2015, July 22). Giardia. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/giardia/index.html

CDC. (2017, September 29). Hepatitis A Information. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hav/index.htm

CDC. (2017, January 12). Parasites – Cryptosporidium (also known as “Crypto”). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/crypto/index.html

CDC. (2017, October 25). Campylobacter (Campylobacteriosis). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/campylobacter/index.html

CDC. (2018, June 13). Norovirus. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/norovirus/index.html

CDC. (2018, April 30). Legionnaires Disease and Pontiac Fever. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/legionella/index.html

CDC. (2018, January 17). Shigella – Shigellosis. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/shigella/index.html

CDC. (2018, June 14). Salmonella. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/index.html

CDC. (2018, June 28). Typhoid Fever. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/typhoid-fever/index.html

CDC. (2018, May 3). Cholera – Vibrio cholerae infection. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/cholera/index.html

CDC. (2018, April 20). E.coli (Escherichia coli). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/index.html

Gut MicroBiota. (n.d.). Gut Microbiota Info – Gut Microbiota for Health. Retrieved from http://www.gutmicrobiotaforhealth.com/en/about-gut-microbiota-info/

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It’s Time To Leave- Part 2, by Pat Cascio

bugging out in an RV

Our family has a plan for bugging out, if it’s time to leave and things come to that. Actually, we have several plans. I am continuing to tell you my plans. Yesterday, I shared my choice of weapons for self defense and hunting. My Choice of Blackhawk Products Let me share a word on my choices here. As long time readers will realize, I’m a big fan of Blackhawk products. (Know that they do not pay me to promote their products. I just happen to think very highly of the quality of their gear, and that’s why I selected it.) …

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It’s Time To Leave- Part 1, by Pat Cascio

bugging out in an RV

Timing is everything, if you decide to bug out and leave! I receive no less than 150 e-mails per day. Many of these are from our readers, even though my e-mail address is no longer listed on SurvivalBlog.com. Readers kept it, even after it was removed. I honestly don’t have time to respond to every e-mail I receive each day. However, one question I get the most often is about bugging out before, during, or after a SHTF scenario, and there is no one answer to this dilemma. Plan For Many Situations I’m getting on in years. Very shortly, I’ll …

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The Well-Balanced Gun Collection

gun_collection_311844

A topic that comes up in more than half of my consulting calls, is firearms. Most survivalists gravitate toward guns for obvious reasons. If anything, SurvivalBlog could surely be labelled a “guns and groceries” oriented blog, and most of our readers are like-minded. We tend to have large gun collections. We aren’t entirely gun-centric, but our concept of preparedness includes owning guns and having full proficiency in their use. The greatest difficulty vis-a-vis guns for those in our community is not hand-wringing about whether or not we should own them. We’ll leave that pseudo-question up to the leftists. Rather, our …

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Smoke Grenades – Any Utility?, by T. in Virginia

gng-smoke-grenades

I’ve participated in a few discussions recently about the utility, if any, of smoke grenades and similar devices to an average person, or even a reasonably trained and equipped prepper, in a SHTF situation. There are certainly some valid points to both sides of the arguments. So, this short article is intended to share a few thoughts to help SurvivalBlog readers make up their own minds. Smoke grenade use generally falls into two areas— signaling or obscuration. Large scale smoke, such as from vehicle-mounted or stationary military-style generators, can also have other applications that are beyond the intended scope of …

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Truth Not Fiction Matters

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Guest Article: America Loses When The Trade War Becomes A Currency War, by Brandon Smith

map America loses when the trade war becomes a currency war

There has been a longstanding narrative in economic circles that no matter what crisis occurs the U.S. dollar is essentially invincible. I have never been one to buy into this assumption. Reason 1: Because I remember distinctly just before the derivatives and credit crisis in 2007/2008 the majority of mainstream economists were so certain that U.S. housing and debt markets were invincible, and they were terribly wrong. Whenever the mainstream financial media are confident of an outcome, expect the opposite to happen. Reason 2: Because karma has a way of crushing grand illusions. When you proudly declare a Titanic “unsinkable,” …

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What Would a WROL World Look Like?

What Would a WROL World Look Like?

What are you prepping for? Is it a natural disaster like a wildfire, tornado or hurricane? Those are perfect examples of common events that occur every day. Nature has a way of dealing us unexpected circumstances from time to time and we, as humans try to roll with the situation as best we can. That is one of the benefits of prepping in that you are proactively planning for events, and the fallout of events now before you find yourself possibly affected by disaster. There are large and small examples of emergencies but prepping gives you a method of working through examples and making potentially lifesaving decisions all from the comfort of your computer or as in Sideliner’s case; the easy chair.

From a big-picture perspective we can look at regions where certain types of natural disasters are more common. If you live in areas where you have identified many potential risks as part of your prepping plan, some people advocate designing your own threat matrix. A threat matrix is really just a decision-making system where you assign a level of risk and probability to each disaster. This is supposed to help you decide which disaster is more likely or impactful to your life and thus should be worked on first. For example, California has routinely seen floods, earthquakes, mudslides, wildfires and you have to throw in the risk of blackouts, riots, nuclear fallout and most recently drought. You could line all of these threats up on a page, assign them a number and a risk and start making plans accordingly. Now that I think of it, why would anyone want to live in California anyway?

As a resident of California this might make sense because you have seen the first-hand effects of these disasters, but what if there was a different type of emergency that we haven’t really seen in this country before? What preparations would you make if you knew now that the FEMA tents weren’t going to be popping up, truckloads of relief supplies weren’t headed your way and that sooner or later scores of news media and Red Cross volunteers weren’t going to be descending on your town to document the devastation?

What would a WROL world look like?

WROL is a term that means Without Rule of Law. I don’t know who coined it first but it seems to accurately describe the worst type of scenario preppers imagine. A WROL world could spring up spontaneously or it could grow out of some relatively common natural disaster. To imagine a WROL world you would simply have to imagine no police, fire or ambulances coming to your aid. In a WROL world you would be on your own or left with your band of friends and neighbors to provide for yourself all of the services that are now gone.

If you look around you might have seen glimpses of a WROL world even if they are quickly controlled. Looting is an example of WROL behavior and so are riots. The two go hand in hand but the police rely on controlling the crowd to a large extent to keep these events from growing much larger than they are. If the police are not available or are overwhelmed, what happens then? When the rioters and looters don’t have any reason to stop the spread of rage and violence, what do they move on to next?

Imagine something as benign as the power grid failing for some arbitrary period. Let’s say a fluke takes out the power for the entire eastern seaboard for one month. This could be a terrorist caused outage, solar flare or some random chain of events that causes a domino effect of failures to equipment and systems. Imagine also that this happens in August and the east coast is also experiencing warmer than usual weather.

Without power, what could possibly happen in the US? Do you think riots would break out? Could you see looting of stores? Without power there would be no way to refrigerate food. You wouldn’t be able to pump gas, run credit card machines or ATM’s, air conditioners or ice makers. Cell towers would be ineffective. Would you be able to go to work? Not likely unless your job involved something manual that was completely not reliant on electricity or fuel. My job is 100% dependent on the internet and electricity. Public transportation would be down and even government services would be unable to help. So what would millions of hot, hungry and panicked people do?

What would you have to worry about in a WROL world?

Is this all a fairytale? Maybe. There are a lot of people who believe nothing bad like this will ever happen and that our way of life will keep on chugging along in more or less the same fashion it always has. I have said many times that I hope that is our shared reality, but I am planning for the chance that it doesn’t. My own threat matrix is my gut. You will find no shortage of people who say worrying about things like this is a waste of effort.

By very definition WROL means there is law and order so normalcy is pretty much out the window. With a failure like this there wouldn’t be enough police, National Guard or military combined to help everyone out. All of these soldiers, police and firemen would have their own families to watch over most likely and I could see many of them, if forced to choose between going to work stopping a riot or staying at home to defend their wife and kids would choose the latter. Again, there will be those who disagree and say that the professional soldier, police officer or fireman would never abandon their post and communities will rally together to take care of one another in times of crisis. Maybe when the crisis is over, but not while everyone is going through it.

What can you do now to prepare for WROL?

My WROL scenario above is relatively short-lived. There have certainly been natural disasters where the destruction caused power outages for a long time. In my example, presumably we would have half a country that could rally to help us but assume for a second help isn’t on the way. You are on your own for a month of potential lawlessness. Imagine a month of the Purge lived out in real life?

Limit your exposure

Who makes the best target? They guy right in front of you. If there is widespread violence being carried out in the name of rage or of need, stay far away from it. You don’t want to be anywhere near the chaos that is going on and it would be better to let it burn out as much as possible before it gets to you. In this case bugging out may be your best option so have a plan for that contingency in your back pocket. In my scenario you would have plenty of time to make that decision, but you should have prepping supplies together before the ability to acquire them has passed. This includes everything you need for food, water, shelter, security and hygiene for a minimum of 6 months. Start small if you have to.

Use the buddy system

If you do have to travel or bug out, you don’t want to go it alone. Someone needs to be there to watch your six and potentially pull you out of trouble. In a without rule of law world, I foresee deadly force as being much more prevalent and warranted if your life is in danger. I am not saying to go out and shoot people walking down your street, but if they are threatening your life then you have a choice to make. It is better to consider this now as opposed to in the moment even though I realize and admit that thinking about killing someone is a lot different from actually pulling the trigger.

  • Neighborhood watch on Steroids
  • Thinking of your neighborhood from a tactical perspective
  • Coordinating a neighborhood response plan

Keep an eye out

If there is a real threat of violence in your neighborhood, you won’t be able to simply lock the door and hope they will go away. If you haven’t already, post-event you should form up with your neighbors immediately to draw up plans for security and address any needs of anyone in your local group. Whatever you did or didn’t do before the event will need to go out the window if you want to survive. It takes more than one person to stand guard all night.

  • Protecting your family when the bad guys come down the street
  • Looter Defense Tactics

Arm yourself responsibly

And legally. I am a big advocate of responsible firearm ownership. This assumes you have the training and knowledge of how and when you should discharge that firearm in the course of defending your life. It has been said that the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun and I believe that. Just make sure you are the good guy in this situation.

A WROL world is what I envision as a mixture of a war zone and a mad-max movie rolled all into your favorite disaster flick. Essentially, I never want to go through anything like this but if something this catastrophic comes your way, you better make sure you have a plan and you are ready to go.

First seen on http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/05/18/what-would-a-wrol-world-look-like/

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PGP for Preppers- Part 2, by Groundhog Gravy

We should be especially careful when communicating electronically: it’s little more than trivial for a government, a corporation, or even a couple of well-equipped criminals to intercept phone calls, emails, or text messages. This article explains how to use simple, secure tools that do only encryption and do it right. These are based upon a tool that is significantly better than the name suggests, Pretty Good Privacy (PGP), and offers excellent communications security for preppers. Part 1 covered PGP and how it is used. Now, we are continuing. Setting an Expiration Date Now that you have created a key, there …

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PGP for Preppers- Part 1, by Groundhog Gravy

Introduction We all have a need for private communication. Whether it’s details of our preparations that we want to share with others in a group, discussing tactics, carrying on trade, or any of a hundred other matters, we should be concerned about keeping our communication private. We should be especially careful when communicating electronically: it’s little more than trivial for a government, a corporation, or even a couple of well-equipped criminals to intercept phone calls, emails, or text messages. We can use encryption, which transforms data into a form that can only be read with a secret key, to help …

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Summer Series on Neglected Tropical Diseases: Shedding Light on NTDs

Summer Series on Neglected Tropical Diseases: Shedding Light on NTDs

 

The chances are that if you turn on your television or scan your local news sources, you will hear about infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS, Ebola, Tuberculosis, Hepatitis and Measles. Now, can you say the same for Buruli ulcers? How about Guinea Worm disease? Chagas disease? Yaws or Schistosomiasis? Your response might not be as certain.

 

This is not because the diseases only infect a few people each year or are not as dangerous. Actually, combined, these diseases categorized as Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) impact more than one billion people every year [1]. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), NTDs include communicable diseases that exist in tropical and subtropical climates of nearly 150 countries, and mostly impact those living in poverty with close proximity to infectious vectors [1]. The WHO has created a roadmap to treat, prevent and eliminate the burden of NTDs, which includes five strategies of control: Preventative chemotherapy; Vector and intermediate host control; Veterinary public health; Intensified disease management; and Procurement of safe water, sanitation and hygiene [2]. The goal of incorporating these strategies is to reduce disease burden and eradicate at least two NTDs by 2020 [1].

 

As of 2017, WHO recognized 17 diseases as neglected tropical diseases [1,2], including:

  • Dengue and Chikungunya
  • Rabies
  • Blinding Trachoma
  • Buruli Ulcer
  • Endemic Treponematoses (Yaws)
  • Leprosy (Hansen Disease)
  • Chagas Disease
  • Human African Trypanosomiasis (Sleeping Sickness)
  • Leishmaniasis
  • Cysticercosis
  • Dracunculiasis (Guinea Worm Disease)
  • Echinococcosis
  • Foodborne Trematode Infections
  • Lymphatic Filariasis
  • Onchocerciasis (River Blindness)
  • Schistosomiasis (Bilharziasis)
  • Soil-Transmitted Helminthiases (including Ascariasis, Hookworm and Whipworm)

 

“Neglected” is a powerful word. Most of these diseases occur in areas of economic hardship, strife, and are just a small part of the challenges faced by the affected communities. Those most affected by NTDs have insecurities far beyond what we can effectively grasp in the majority of the United States. While the threat of disease is high, it is miniscule to the challenges of poverty, food insecurity, lack of medical care and poor sanitation. This summer, the Disease Daily will be hosting a Neglected Tropical Disease Series, where it is my goal to introduce you to these lesser-known diseases. The series hopes to raise awareness to their global impact. While NTDs might not be running rampant in your community, our global community is in need. Addressing NTDs requires awareness, policy changes, medical access and community support to provide the tools necessary for treatment and hopefully one day, eradication.

 

 

Sources:

[1] http://www.who.int/neglected_diseases/diseases/en/

[2] http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/70809/WHO_HTM_NTD_2012.1_eng.pdf;jsessionid=C79D57A92E69F28C8657CB3B311E0B5D?sequence=1

Neglected Tropical Diseases NTDs WHO Outbreak News CC Image Courtesy of RTI Fights NTDs on Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/rtifightsntds/34949843103/in/photolist-Vfp5HM-26tiqDw-nxM4gF-nghuyJ-fkoX9y-22Dyscq-26wQ9Dp-XyD2eZ-qD9GYg-JMxg7K-nxws3Q-nghrSZ-nghBdJ-26tinbQ-nghAQw-nghmEr-nghy1m-nghNNE-nghiEX-nghsXB-nghSWQ-E5eqcF-WdYcpQ-nghQuf-23FtfgE-WtYu1Z

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Unexpected Hepatitis A Outbreaks Spread Throughout the U.S.

Unexpected Hepatitis A Outbreaks Spread Throughout the U.S.

 

In 2017, several states have experienced acute outbreaks of Hepatitis A, namely Michigan, Kentucky, Utah, Colorado, and California. Each state varies in regards to outbreak onset and population affected, but one similarity has emerged among these states where those experiencing homeless and people who inject drugs (PWID) have been the largely affected population.

 

Hepatitis A

 

Hepatitis A is an infection caused by the Hepatitis A virus, and is typically transmitted through the fecal-oral route or consuming contaminated food or water [1]. Symptoms of the infection include fatigue, lack of appetite, nausea, diarrhea and jaundice; symptoms can last up to two months after the initial infection. Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable disease. These outbreaks have been severe, with over 80% of cases requiring hospitalization [2]. The specific strain of Hepatitis A virus (genotype IB) is not commonly seen in the U.S., but is rather common in the Mediterranean, Turkey and South Africa [10]. The initial source of the outbreaks among these states is unknown, but several states have linked cases serologically.

 

PWID are at increased risk of contracting hepatitis (A, B, or C), as it can be spread percutaneously [12]. Thus, it is impossible to ignore the role that the current opioid epidemic has played in the rise in Hepatitis A cases among PWID. In addition, those experiencing homelessness often have less access to clean toilets and handwashing facilities, and can be hard to reach when attempting to vaccinate [10], increasing likelihood of transmission.

 

 

State Outbreaks

 

Michigan

 

Michigan began to see an unexpected number of Hepatitis A cases since August of 2016, and the outbreak has continued to present day. Almost 600 cases have been recorded, including 20 deaths [2]. This outbreak is nearly 10 times the amount of cases typically seen over this time period. No link to common sources of food or beverages has been found between cases, but a pattern has emerged where homeless people and PWID are at greatest risk for infection [3].

 

Kentucky

 

As of late November, 31 cases of Hepatitis A have been reported in Kentucky, a 50% increase from the average annual number of cases seen in the past decade [4]. No deaths have occurred due to this outbreak. 19 of the 31 cases have come from Jefferson County, which contains the city Louisville, and have also shown a pattern of homelessness and IV drug use among cases [4].

 

Utah

 

Since the beginning of 2017, Utah has reported 112 confirmed cases of Hepatitis A, 102 of which are associated with the current outbreak. The areas affected in this outbreak have reported around a 70% hospitalization rate for cases; however, no deaths have been reported [5]. Again, the populations largely affected in this outbreak are those experiencing homelessness and PWID.

 

Colorado

 

The outbreak in Colorado has reached double the number of expected cases in 2017 [6], with a total reported case count of 62 [7], and one death [8]. Fifteen counties in total have been affected, with the greatest number of cases coming from the Denver and El Paso counties. Many of the Colorado cases have occurred among men who have sex with men (MSM) and homeless individuals, and two cases have been linked to the outbreak in California [9].

 

California

 

San Diego, Santa Cruz, and Los Angeles counties have reported an outbreak of Hepatitis A within California. Within these three counties, there has been a total of 672 cases reported, 430 hospitalizations (64.0% hospitalization rate), and 21 deaths [10]. The California Department of Public Health reported that the majority of patients in this outbreak are experiencingare homeless ness or IV drug users. The outbreak in California is the largest Hepatitis A outbreak in the U.S. since the introduction of the vaccine in 1996 [10].

 

The Hepatitis A virus infection is easily preventable through vaccination, however,though many adults remain unvaccinated as the vaccine was introduced in 1996. As of 2016, the reported rate of hepatitis A vaccination among adults aged 19 or greater was just 9.0% [14].  It is possible for the vaccine to be effective after exposure to the virus, if administered within 2 weeks of the exposure [1]. Due to the current outbreak, there has been a large increase in demand for the vaccine in order to prevent further transmission. However, this has caused a shortage of the Hepatitis A vaccine, leaving it difficult for public health departments to combat the outbreak effectively [11]. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are supporting efforts to increase vaccine supply and vaccine policy development [13]. Education campaigns regarding proper sanitation, Iin addition to vaccination, education campaigns regarding proper sanitation are being used to put an end to the outbreak that is now affecting several U.S. states.

 

 

 

Sources:

 

[1] https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hav/index.htm

[2] http://outbreaknewstoday.com/southeast-michigan-hepatitis-outbreak-nears-500-cases-20-deaths-89056/

[3] http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/michigan/2017/12/11/hep-outbreak-southeast-michigan-extremely-unusual/925112001/

[4] https://healthalerts.ky.gov/Pages/AlertItem.aspx?alertID=43060

[5] http://health.utah.gov/epi/diseases/hepatitisA/HAVoutbreak_2017

[6] http://www.denverpost.com/2017/08/30/colorado-hepatitis-a-cases-spike/

[7] https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/hepatitis-a-outbreak-2017

[8] http://outbreaknewstoday.com/colorado-reports-doubling-hepatitis-cases-2017/

[9] http://www.denverpost.com/2017/10/30/two-colorado-hepatitis-a-cases-linked-california-outbreak-killed-19-people/

[10] https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/Immunization/Hepatitis-A-Outbreak.aspx

[11] https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/clinical-resources/shortages.html#note1

[12] https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/populations/idu.htm

[13] https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/outbreaks/2017March-HepatitisA.htm

[14] https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/ss/ss6501a1.htm

 

hepatitis a United States hepatitis genotype IB injection drug users outbreak Outbreak News CC Image Courtesy of the World Bank on Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/worldbank/6442287941/

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Essential Survival Skills You Should Learn, by B.T.

Life is a game of survival. Everything is possible. Anything can happen. Preparation is the key, but what if you are struck unaware? What if you are left with nothing but the clothes on your back and a flashlight? Getting lost in the wilderness or being stranded on an island can be tough, but you will live if you have the will and courage to tackle the unknown and make do with what’s in front of you. The Art of Survival When it comes to events of a catastrophic scale, there’s nothing more important than staying alive and focusing on …

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The Game of Life, by A Modern Stoic

I lie awake, thinking of the past and different choices I could have made in this game of life, or fantasizing about the future and the alternatives I can choose. Then I remember that the only moment that exists is the one my mind occupies in this instant. “If thou shouldst live three thousand years, or as many myriads, yet remember this, that no man loses any other life than that he now lives; and that he now lives no other life than what he is parting with, every instant. The longest life, and the shortest, come to one effect: …

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Getting Home In The Event Of An EMP- Part 2, by B.M.

emp Explosion

We are looking at what might be required if you are working in the city a great distance from your family’s home. My scenario is that I work 50 miles away, which would require a two day walk. I’ve already talked through the basics of day one, which is focusing on getting as far as possible while being the Gray Man. Now, let’s look at what might happen next. Overnight and Day Two So, you have had a fortunate day. You’ve covered 30 miles, but you are exhausted. You’ve eaten once; you are sweaty, tired, worried, and it is getting …

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Getting Home In The Event Of An EMP- Part 1, by B.M.

emp Explosion

I want to open by saying that this is not a blueprint for long-term survival or preparedness, nor is it the same as a bug-out-bag scenario. This is a guide for getting home in the initial stages of a grid-down scenario. I served in the USMC,  worked the streets of this country for 25 plus years and I have also traveled extensively (to 60 plus countries). I have dealt, on a regular basis, with human beings from all walks of life, and there is no accounting for the ignorant and irrational behavior that they display. The One Thing You Can …

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Bring Your Own Bandaids- Part 1, by A. & J. R.

Bandaids

Disclaimer: The following is for informational and entertainment purposes only. You should always consult your physician for any questions regarding your health or that of a family member. The authors are merely discussing items you may wish to have on hand to care for a family or group, for when a licensed healthcare provider is available but supplies are hard or impossible to come by. We write from the perspective of patients (a Type 1 diabetic with hypothyroidism and his wife who has had her spleen, gall bladder, most of her pancreas, and half a pinkie removed) and parents of …

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Guess What? We Grow Up, by The Autistic Prepper

apocalypse survival guide

It was good to read about dealing with autistic children and their special needs in survival situations, and I’d like to thank Grey Woman for her article. There have been articles about the elderly, the physically handicapped, those with dementia, but we on the autistic spectrum have been largely ignored. Our differences are too bizarre for most people to understand. Adult With Autism; We Grow Up Let me introduce myself. I’m an adult with autism, and I’m also a fervent SurvivalBlog reader and occasional contributor. I also like to watch water going down a drain, insist that my egg be …

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Medical Supplies, Principles of Use and Purpose, by J.V.

Today’s world climate seems to reinforce more and more the need to be prepared for various situations that might arise. Everything from terrorism to tensions with whatever country it is this week. We all need to do our part to be prepared. This includes the medical side of things. Knowledge and Practice Nothing beats knowledge and practice of a particular skill set. Even without the proper tools, if you understand the principle inside and out, you can think of ways to adapt and use what supplies you have on hand. This is the true meaning of survival– making due with …

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Reducing the Breadcrumbs Produced By Your Digital Life, by P.L.

Breadcrumbs

None of us want to unknowingly share personal information, but it’s happening everyday if you browse the web, use email, or have a mobile phone. You could decide “I’m going off the grid!”. That’s great if you can, but it’s not practical for 99% of us. The Breadcrumbs So, how might you go about reducing the breadcrumbs produced by your digital life? ProtonMail First, consider using ProtonMail for your personal email. There are no ads and no tracking. A basic account is free. I paid for the Plus account, since I wanted more features. I access ProtonMail on my iPhone …

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