Waterwashed Diseases

The simplest disease transmission is by person-to-person contact (see Fig. 1.3). The diseases of poor hygiene arise from direct contact of the skin, conjunctiva or mucous membrane. Alternatively, organisms from the skin or in conjunctival secretions can be transported by an intermediate vehicle. The essential mechanism is contamination due to lack of hygiene.

There are two groups of diseases in this category - skin diseases and eye diseases -and it is convenient to describe them in this order. The skin diseases include infections of scabies and lice and the superficial fungal diseases. Tropical ulcers, for which a means of transmission has still not been defined, are conveniently included here. The eye diseases of significance in public health are trachoma, epidemic haemorrhagic conjunctivitis, epidemic keratoconjunctivitis and ophthalmia neonatorum.

The main method of control of the diseases of poor hygiene is to increase water quantity. They are the first category in Table 3.1 called the 'water-washed' diseases. Providing an adequate volume of water for washing encourages personal hygiene.

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