Water and Health

Safe water is essential to our society. Water systems should protect society against the spread of infectious diseases. New pathogen threats emerge (new viruses, increasing antimicrobial resistance). They emphasize the vulnerability of our densely populated society to infectious diseases and the role of water as reservoir and transmission vehicle. In our densely populated country, the load of pathogens and resistance genes to the environment is high and the possibilities for exposure to these hazards are also many. Exposure through drinking water is well under control, but other water uses (such as bathing) are not. Moreover, we are inventing new concepts for dealing with water in our society (wastewater reuse, water in cities, etc.). These provide new niches for pathogens and new routes of exposure to pathogens. Effective management calls for knowledge about the pathogens and resistance genes: their sources, fate and transport in water, exposure pathways and health impact, to understand the health risks and which barriers (water treatment processes) are effective to provide safe water systems. 

Prof. Dr. Gertjan Medema