How Algal Blooms Can Impact Water Quality: What You Should Know

In a nutshell… The summer of coronavirus (COVID-19) has been relatively mild for blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) blooms in the Great Lakes. But problem areas can be found in many states. This article provides an overview of the public health importance of harmful algal blooms on recreational waters and sources of treated drinking water.   Photo

An Update on Legionella Bacteria Management in Building Water Systems

Lower photo credit: CDC/Margaret Williams We continue to write about U.S. waterborne disease caused by Legionella bacteria and their management in building water systems because of their unrelenting public health significance. Legionnaires’ disease first made headlines following the 1976 American Legion conference in Philadelphia. That infamous outbreak included 182 cases of severe pneumonia and 29

Lessons Learned from New Zealand’s Drinking Water Debate

It’s been over a year since we last wrote about New Zealand’s largest waterborne disease outbreak. In August 2016, following heavy winter rains, an estimated 5,500 of 14,000 residents of Havelock North fell ill, with potentially up to 4 deaths, after drinking intentionally untreated groundwater from a community well contaminated with Campylobacter bacteria. A farm

Recent Trends in Legionella and Waterborne Disease Outbreaks and Their Causes

Every day, over 50,000 community water systems serve treated (finished) drinking water to over 300 million Americans, while almost 45 million rely on private wells for some or all of their water. The availability of safe drinking water is vital to public health, but contamination can occur and treatment, storage, and distribution systems can fail.

If Nothing Changes, It Will Happen Again: New Zealand’s Untreated Drinking Water

Just over a year ago, in August 2016, I wrote about how more than 5,000 of the 14,000 residents of Havelock North—a suburb of the City of Hastings on the North Island of New Zealand—became sickened after drinking untreated groundwater contaminated with Campylobacter bacteria, a common food- and waterborne disease-causing microorganism that is transmitted in the feces of

Update: New Zealand’s Largest Drinking Water Outbreak

In August 2016, more than one-third of the 14,000 residents of the community of Havelock North in New Zealand were sickened with gastrointestinal illness after drinking untreated groundwater contaminated with Campylobacter bacteria. It was New Zealand’s largest drinking water outbreak in recorded history. Although accounts vary, the outbreak has been linked to the deaths of

A Cautionary Tale of Untreated Groundwater, Campylobacter, and New Zealand’s Largest Drinking Water Outbreak

Havelock North is a suburb of the City of Hastings on the North Island of New Zealand with 14,000 residents. By the end of August 2016, over one-third of the residents of this entire town had been sickened by drinking water contaminated with Campylobacter bacteria, the most common source of foodborne illness in New Zealand.1

Legionella in Flint’s Drinking Water

Much has been written about Flint, Michigan’s lead-contaminated drinking water, but we should not overlook another health risk associated with Flint in the recent past, and that is the possibility of Legionella bacteria in the city’s drinking water.  The unchecked corrosivity of Flint’s drinking water may have led to more than one serious water quality

The Latin American Cholera Epidemic of the 1990’s: My View from the Inside

From 1981 through most of 1995 I was an official in the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), which is also the Regional Office for the Americas for the World Health Organization.  One of my major responsibilities was assisting Latin American and Caribbean countries in the prevention and mitigation of waterborne and water related diseases, which

Legionella Outbreak in the Bronx

Cooling towers on building roof tops are believed to be the breeding grounds of bacteria responsible for a summer outbreak of Legionnaires’ Disease in New York City.  The outbreak began on July 10.  As of August 13, twelve deaths and 119 cases of illness have been attributed to the disease, which is caused by Legionella