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Logo of archdischArchives of Disease in ChildhoodVisit this articleSubmit a manuscriptReceive email alertsContact usBMJ
Arch Dis Child. Oct 1999; 81(4): 337–338.
PMCID: PMC1718112

Solar disinfection of water reduces diarrhoeal disease: an update

Abstract

349 Maasai children younger than 6 years old were randomised by alternate household to drink water either left in plastic bottles exposed to sunlight on the roof of the house or kept indoors (control). The trial was run in Maasai by Maasai community elders. Children drinking solar disinfected water had a significantly lower risk of severe diarrhoeal disease over 8705 two weekly follow up visits; two week period prevalence was 48.8% compared with 58.1% in controls, corresponding to an attributable fraction of 16.0%. While this reduction is modest, it was sustained over a year in free living children. It confirms solar disinfection as effective in vivo as a free, low technology, point of consumption method of improving water quality. The continuing use of solar disinfection by the community underlines the value of community participation in research.

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Selected References

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  • Conroy RM, Elmore-Meegan M, Joyce T, McGuigan KG, Barnes J. Solar disinfection of drinking water and diarrhoea in Maasai children: a controlled field trial. Lancet. 1996 Dec 21;348(9043):1695–1697. [PubMed]
  • McGuigan KG, Joyce TM, Conroy RM, Gillespie JB, Elmore-Meegan M. Solar disinfection of drinking water contained in transparent plastic bottles: characterizing the bacterial inactivation process. J Appl Microbiol. 1998 Jun;84(6):1138–1148. [PubMed]

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