Mitigating Microbes: Three Common Infectious Microbes and What You Can Do About Them
For homeowners around the country, making sure the water that comes out of their tap is safe for their families is of paramount importance.
What with all the headlines in recent years about lead and VOC contamination in water, it’s reasonable to implement a solution that renders your home’s (or business’s) water safer for consumption.
But not all risks are chemical. Some are biological, and some of these biological threats cannot be reasonably mitigated through chemical means (like chlorine treatment) alone.
Here are three common infectious, parasitic microbial organisms that are sometimes encountered in water sources, and what the right filter system can do to remove them.
Giardia lamblia is a microscopic, pathogenic protozoan that is commonly encountered in soil and water. It can also be found in food that has been contaminated.
Giardia also presents in areas that have been contaminated with the feces of infected hosts, either people or animals.
Unfortunately, it is truly cosmopolitan and it is found worldwide, perhaps most commonly in water sources. It is common in areas with poor sanitation and unsafe water supplies, but it can also be present in wilderness areas.
To that point, the intestinal disease caused by Giardia lamblia in humans is known as giardiasis, but since the pathogen is sometimes found in beaver ponds, it is informally known as “beaver fever.”
Symptoms of giardiasis, A.K.A. “beaver fever,” include stomach cramps and bloating, general intestinal distress, fatigue, gas, nausea, weight loss, and loose stools.
Giardiasis is one of the most common forms of waterborne infection present in the United States, and the disease often clears itself up within a few weeks or months - but symptoms can persist, and complications arising from the infection may linger long after the infection itself clears.
There are drugs that are effective in treating the disease but not all cases respond favorably, making prevention the best means of dealing with this waterborne risk.
Entamoeba histolytica is an infectious, parasitic amoebozoan. It is transmitted through materials (such as food and water) contaminated by the feces of the host, but its cysts can persist in soil, water, food and in other moist environments for prolonged periods of time.
It, like Giardia lamblia, is found worldwide and is often present in contaminated freshwater as well.
In humans, the disease caused by Entamoeba histolytica is known as amoebiasis. This disease, which affects up to 50 million people each year, can cause a wide variety of symptoms depending on the tissue it infects.
Commonly amoebiasis presents in the gastrointestinal tract as pain, discomfort, or the production of loose stool. Less common but more concerning is Amoebic liver, a condition in which the pathogen infects the liver of the host, resulting in the development of a dangerous abscess. It is also noteworthy that human hosts can become infected carriers of the disease without presenting symptoms, potentially spreading infection without knowing it.
As with Giardia, there are antibiotic treatments available for the treatment of amoebiasis, but still, the best preparation is prevention.
Cryptosporidium, also known as “crypto,” is not a species but a genus of parasitic alveolate protozoans. These infectious microbes are found, like the others covered so far, in water, food, soil, and on surfaces contaminated with the feces of the host. Cysts can also persist in suitable environments for prolonged periods of time.
Like the previously mentioned two infectious microbes, Cryptosporidium is found all over the United States and throughout the rest of the world, making the risk cosmopolitan.
In humans, Cryptosporidium causes a disease known as cryptosporidiosis. There are two forms, intestinal, which causes intestinal distress, nausea, and loose stools, and respiratory, which results in the development of a persistent cough.
Infection usually occurs when the host ingests water that is contaminated by the microbe, as it is present and relatively common in contaminated freshwater sources around the world. It is sometimes also acquired via ingestion of contaminated food.
Like Giardia and Entamoeba, there are effective antibiotic treatments, but prevention remains the best course of action.
What Is a Parasitic Cyst? (And, the Necessity of Mechanical Filtration)
The problem with these three microbes, specifically, is not that they are present in drinking water, or that they are very small. It is that they form cysts.
As you may know, water treatment facilities often treat water with chlorine in order to sterilize it by killing the microbes present.
Chlorine sanitation is a fairly effective treatment, when the proper concentrations are applied, against a wide variety of pathogenic microbes, like Salmonella and Campylobacter. Chlorine sanitation can also neutralize certain viruses, such as Norovirus.
Chlorine sanitation is not effective, however, at neutralizing certain parasitic cysts.
Parasitic cysts are special “forms” of these microorganisms that develop in response to insufficient nutrients or water, the presence of toxic chemicals (like chlorine), or unfavorable environmental conditions like extreme temperatures.
The parasitic cysts of some species (such as Giardia, Entamoeba, and Cryptosporidium) are resistant to chlorine sanitation. This occasionally allows cysts to survive in treated, potable water supplies before being ingested, at which point they infect the host.
Boiling is effective at destroying cysts, but the standard chlorine concentrations typically applied to water supplies are not.
Consequently, one of your best defenses as a homeowner against pathogens like these is removal by mechanical means - which is precisely one of the selling points of Everpure H54 cartridges.
Get Your Everpure H54 Cartridges Here
Drinking water systems equipped with Everpure H54 cartridges can serve as one line of defense against parasitic cysts, such as Cryptosporidium, Giardia, and Entamoeba.
Everpure H54 cartridges satisfy NSF standard 53 for health effects for the mechanical removal of these cysts.
Everpure H-54 replacement cartridges also remove:
- Dirt and cloudiness
- Mold and algae
- Chlorine taste and odors
- And particulate matter down to .5 microns in size
- They can also provide a reasonable level of scale control
They also have a 1/2 gallon per minute flow rate and a 750 gallon capacity, making them suitable for a wide range of domestic and residential applications. If you’re looking for Everpure residential replacement filters, check the link above or contact us for more information.