Emerging Waterborne Pathogens Essay

In today’s food preparation world waterborne pathogens are becoming
a real threat. Why? Simply because in today’s culture people are quick to
blame the food industry for most cases of disintary or other ill effects caused
by bacteria. In this paper several things will be discussed.

To understand what I’m trying to say, you must understand a few key
terms. First lets define waterborne pathogen. A waterborne pathogen is a
micro-organism whose ability to cause disease has recently been identified.

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Now that you know what a waterborne pathogen is lets name a few.

1. Bacteria in the form of,
Arcobacter Butzleri
Helicobacter Pylori
And E. Coli
2. Viruses
and Adenoviruses Type 40 and 41
3. Protozoa

Each of these possible pathogens has been identified but according to
the WRc’s “Final Report to the Department of the Environment on
Waterborne Pathogens,” it is still possible that several unidentified pathogens
may be at large and dangerous.

In order to understand how these pathogens work, and how to destroy
them we must understand several of the parts that make them up. Some of
these parts are:
Biochemical Characteristics
Detection Methods
Cultural characteristics
Health Effects
Routes of Transmission
Occurrence in Water Sources
Sources of Exposure
and Susceptibility to removal or inactivation by conventional water
treatment processes.

Each of these parts is used in today’s world to identify and destroy
existing, and new pathogens.

What happens if someone ingests a pathogen before it is identified?
Well that is one reason that the Department of the Environment is so
concerned. Due to current environmental status new pathogens are appearing
semi-daily, and consequently overwhelming those who are working to stop
them. One major example of this is Legionella. Legionella is unique in the
fact that 42 strains have been identified, and yet only one is within our ability
to control. So obviously there is a major shortage of knowledge on pathogens,
and how to control them.

According to the WRC’s report to the Department of the Enviroment
“The threat which is posed by an organism to contaminate water supplies and
cause outbreaks always exists,” and furthermore they state that “The threat
which is posed by an organism, in terms of its occurrence and distribution in
water sources and the ability to remove it is often poorly understood and or
completely unknown.”
Does this alarm anyone else? Just the thought that our government
admits that there are diseases out there that we have no ability to control is
alarming. Let alone the fact that the food industry is blamed for most of the
problems that occur due to waterborne pathogens.

Lets examine the logic the government uses to explain this
phenomenon, “According to data provided by the Environmental Control
Agency, 65% of waterborne pathogens appear in highly populated areas,” so
according to this data most of these pathogens arrive via the water supply to
city areas. This might explain why most “new” diseases surface in the food
service industry, due to the fact that most restaurants and other food
production facilities are centered in cities.

Now that we know there is a problem what can the food industry do to
keep from spreading the ill feelings, and actual medical problems surrounding
waterborne pathogens? Well first of all we all need to recognize the source of
the problem, and take the appropriate steps to stop it. Supplies of “cleansed”
water should be on hand. Also if a pathogen has been linked to your place of
business take the recommended steps to identify where the problem is coming
from and stop it. Furthermore educate your workers about the problem.

Education never hurt anyone.

In conclusion the food industry is greatly wronged by the general
public when it comes to identifying the causes of certain diseases. The only
way that this problem will ever be resolved is by grater education of the

Works Cited
The main source for this paper was Http://www.awwarf.com
and the Department of Environmental Conservation final report to the Department of the Environment


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