1. What are germs?
2. Getting germs
3. Germ environment
4. Germ travel
5. Symptoms
6. Water's role
7. Water suppliers
8. Rules
9. Conclusion

Diseases & pathogens

Note on E. coli

Symptoms: How are we exposed to germs?
Pathogens can enter our bodies through four routes
Ingestion: swallowing into the digestive tract
Inhalation: breathing into the respiratory tract
Blood stream: parenteral:  through a wound
vector borne:  from an insect bite
Absorption: through the skin; this is very rare for microorganisms

Since our interest here is drinking water, the route of exposure we will consider is ingestion. Illnesses in the digestive tract (sometimes called the alimentary canal) are called gastrointestinal diseases. Common symptoms of gastrointestinal diseases are vomiting and diarrhea. Prolonged and severe diarrhea is a major cause of death in many parts of the world, and contaminated, untreated drinking water is a principal cause of those afflictions.
Think about your symptoms: did you throw up, have a fever, go to the bathroom frequently? How long did your illness last? Did you go to the doctor? Did anyone suggest what made you sick? Chances are very high that there were germs involved.

Germs are everywhere in the world: on us, in us, and around us. Some of them can make us sick, by causing infections, so doctors and scientists work hard to learn as much as they can about them. Water suppliers need to understand germs, too, because it is their job to keep drinking water safe.

  Infection: Invasion by pathogenic microorganisms of a bodily part in which conditions are favorable for growth, production of toxins, and subsequent injury to tissue.
– American Heritage Dictionary (AHD)

See the kinds of
germs we're talking

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