Academic journal article The Journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health

The Blue Death: Disease, Disaster and the Water We Drink

Academic journal article The Journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health

The Blue Death: Disease, Disaster and the Water We Drink

Article excerpt

The Blue Death: Disease, Disaster and the Water We Drink By Robert D Morris. Published by Oneworld Publications, Oxford, 2007. Hardback 320pp. Price £16.99. ISBN 978-1-85168-575-2.

In this book Morris takes us on a fascinating journey. A journey that starts with John Snow's early years and his realization and subsequent proof that water was the carrier of a deadly disease that was sweeping the world again, then moves to Robert Koch's discovery of the cholera bacterium itself, and arrives at the large and deadly waterborne outbreaks of modern times. These include the 20,000 victims of cryptosporidium in Milwaukee in 1993, the tragic and completely avoidable deaths from E. coli O157 in Walkerton, Canada, and the hell-hole that was the Goma squatter camp in Africa. Here, Rwandan refugees suffered the world's largest waterborne disaster with over 60,000 people dying from cholera in less than a month. Morris then looks to the future and the effects on drinking water treatment that terrorism and the continuing battle between humans and microbes will have. Along the way we get remarkable insights into the lives and battles of pioneers such as Snows against the vested interests of water companies, politicians, sanitarians and water treatment engineers. Added to this are tales of the gigantic engineering works that provided the US with clean drinking water. …

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