Past Articles

Tap Water Linked to Increased Elderly Illnesses

According to the a new study, even where drinking water standards meet state and federal standards, the elderly may be at increased risk for waterborne gastrointestinal infections from tap water.

Researchers examined Medicare records of Philadelphia residents between 1992 and 1993, as well as daily water exposure measures. The records suggested a correlation between water quality and gastrointestinal illness 9 to 11 days prior to the hospital admission.

The researchers noted that other studies have found an association between gastrointestinal disease and drinking water elsewhere in the US and Canada.

In an accompanying editorial, researchers from Spain noted that a more comprehensive public health surveillance strategy is needed to control water quality and reduce the risk of waterborne gastrointestinal disease.

Such a system could include greater surveillance for cases of diarrhea and vomiting, particularly among high-risk groups like the elderly; standardization of laboratory detection; designating particular disorders as reportable to federal bureaus; and investigating and controlling waterborne outbreaks.

Source: Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 2000;54:3-