Intestinal parasites in Nicaragua are endemic and the water is the most common source.
In one recent study, 53% of tested wells contained amoeboflagellates. A study of 480 apparently healthy individuals in Leon reported that Entamoeba histolytica or Entamoeba dispar was present in 12% of stool specimens. A 2001 survey found that 13.1% of children under 5 years of age suffered from diarrhea as a result of unpotable water.
While in Limon I will find out if there is support for community programs to disinfect the well water. If this can be arranged, perhaps the problem might not recur after treatment for abdominal parasites.
Solar water disinfection, SODIS is a method to disinfect water that works and that is commonly employed in poor rural areas around the world.
SODIS can be used to disinfect water using sunlight and plastic polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends SODIS.
The PET recycling mark is widely recognized and confirms the suitability of a plastic bottle for SODIS.
Large 2 litre colourless, transparent PET water or pop bottles are needed. The labels are removed and the bottles are washed. Older scratched bottles should not be used. The bottles are filled three quarters full with well water, shaken for 20 seconds with the cap on, then filled completely and recapped. Very cloudy water should be filtered prior to exposure to the sunlight. The filled bottles should be exposed to the sun for 6 hours and will heat faster and to higher temperatures if placed on a piece of corrugated metal that is sloped and faces the sun.
Perhaps I should stockpile 2 litre PET bottles and small sheets of corrugated metal and give these out with instructions every time I prescribe an anti-parasitic medication.
DISCLAIMER: This blog was originally posted on Help Nicaraguan Children
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