Waterborne Diseases

A-Z List

Congratulations to Hana S. and the students of Civitan Media for winning 1st place in the Healthy Swimming Video Contest!

The following table lists some common waterborne illnesses with their symptoms, causes, and incubation period. Please refer to the CDC's Alphabetical Index of Water-related Diseases, Contaminants, & Injuries for a more comprehensive list of waterborne pathogens.

Waterborne Diseases
DiseasePathogenSymptomsCausesIncubation
Adenovirus InfectionAdenoviridae virusVary depending on which part of the body is infectedDrinking contaminated water5-8 days
AmebiasisEntamoeba histolytica parasiteDiarrhea, stomach pain, and stomach crampingFecal matter of an infected person (usually ingested from a pool or an infected water supply)2 to 4 weeks
CampylobacteriosisCampylobacter jejuni bacteria Chicken, unpasteurized milk, water2 to 10 days
CryptosporidiosisCryptosporidium parasiteStomach cramps, dehydration, nausea, vomiting, fever, weight lossFecal matter of an infected person (can survive for days in chlorinated pools)2 to 10 days
CholeraVibrio cholerae bacteriaWatery diarrhea, vomiting, and leg crampsContaminated drinking water, rivers and coastal watersTwo hours to 5 days
E. Coli 0157:H7Escherichia coli bacteriaDiarrhea (may be bloody), abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, HUSUndercooked ground beef, imported cheeses, unpasteurized milk or juice, cider, alfalfa sprouts1 to 8 days
GiardiasisGiardia lamblia parasiteDiarrhea, excess gas, stomach or abdominal cramps, and upset stomach or nauseaSwallowing recreational water contaminated with Giardia1 to 2 weeks
Hepatitis AHepatitis A virusFever, fatigue, stomach pain, nausea, dark urine, jaundiceReady-to-eat foods, fruit and juice, milk products, shellfish, salads, vegetables, sandwiches, water28 days
LegionellosisLegionella pneumophila bacteriaFever, chills, pneumonia, anorexia, muscle aches, diarrhea and vomitingContaminated water2-10 days
SalmonellosisSalmonella bacteriaAbdominal pain, headache, fever, nausea, diarrhea, chills, crampsPoultry, eggs, meat, meat products, milk, smoked fish, protein foods, juice1-3 days
Vibrio InfectionVibrio parahaemolyticus, Vibrio vulnificus bacteriaNausea, vomiting, headache (a quarter of patients experience dysentery-like symptoms)Raw shellfish, oysters1 to 7+ days
Viral GastroenteritisCalicivirus virusDiarrhea, vomiting, nausea, cramps, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, slight feverWater, ready-to-eat foods (salad, sandwiches, bread) shellfish24 to 48 hours