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Water Environ Res. 2007 Mar;79(3):233-45.

Published case studies of waterborne disease outbreaks--evidence of a recurrent threat.

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Environmental Health Sciences, 10-120 Clinical Sciences Building, School of Public Health, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2G3, Canada.


Residents of affluent nations are remarkably lucky to have high-quality, safe drinking water supplies that most residents of modem cities enjoy, particularly when considered in contrast to the toll of death and misery that unsafe drinking water causes for most of the world's population. Some may presume that drinking-water disease outbreaks are a thing of the past, but complacency can easily arise. A review of drinking water outbreaks in developed countries over the past 3 decades reveals some of the reasons why drinking water outbreaks keep occurring when society clearly has the means to prevent them. Prevention of future outbreaks does not demand perfection, only a commitment to learn from past mistakes and to act on what has been learned.

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