Presentation:   Is it the Water?  The nuts and bolts of waterborne illnesses and investigations.

Speakers:        Joyce Tuttle, REHS, PHM; Brenda Faw, REHS, ES; and Kristin Delea, MPH, REHS



Does water really make people sick? Come find out what is considered a "food" and what is consider "water" in an illness outbreak situation. Learn what organisms are on the "Most Wanted List" of waterborne disease outbreaks, how to conduct an investigation involving a water source, and the resources that are available to assist in an investigation.


Most people in the United States think their drinking water is safe. Global warming and drought has put pressure on one of our most precious commodities, water. With water at a scarcity, the possibility of unsafe drinking water multiplies at an accelerated rate. Waterborne illnesses for the most part have been overlooked and most professionals lack the necessary training to do a thorough investigation. Attendees will gain knowledge in: when an illness is considered foodborne or waterborne, what organisms will trigger a waterborne investigation, how to conduct an investigation on a water source, and the resources available. In 2005, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the United States Environmental Protection Agency partnered to study the safety of drinking water by creating the Environmental Health Specialist-Network Water Program. One of the projects initiated by the EHS-Net program was to create tools that will assist in the identification of risk factors that cause waterborne illness and disease. These tools will facilitate in an effective waterborne disease outbreak prevention and intervention program.


Learning Objectives:


1.       Determine when and how to conduct a waterborne investigation.

2.       Understand the difference between a foodborne and waterborne illness outbreaks.

3.       Identify the "most wanted list" of waterborne illness organisms.

4.       How to investigate potential water sources and identify factors that could cause an illness.

5.       Learn about the waterborne illness investigation tools and resources available