Waterborne Illness Surveillance Statistics
Epidemiologists at the Minnesota Department of Health conduct surveillance and epidemiologic studies to track waterborne diseases and identify waterborne disease outbreaks in Minnesota.
Waterborne Illness Outbreaks
Drinking water outbreaks
From 2008 to 2017 there were two reported drinking water illness outbreak in Minnesota resulting in 11 known illnesses. One was an outbreak of giardiasis associated with drinking well water at a campground. The other was an outbreak of copper poisoning associated with a drinking fountain at a school.
Recreational water outbreaks
From 2008 to 2017 there were 51 reported recreational water illness outbreaks in Minnesota resulting in 667 known illnesses. The largest proportion (51%) of outbreaks were caused by Cryptosporidium. Other agents associated with outbreaks were: E. coli O157, Legionella, norovirus, Pseudomonas,and chemicals. Of these 51 waterborne outbreaks, the most common type of illness experienced was acute gastrointestinal illness, reported in 33 (65%) outbreaks, followed by dermatitis reported in 10 (20%) outbreaks, and acute respiratory illness reported in 8 (16%) outbreaks. Outbreaks occurred in a variety of settings; 30 occurred in swimming pools, 9 in lakes and rivers, 8 in spa pools, 2 in splash pads, 1 in a swimming pond, and 1 in an inflatable kiddie pool.
Other water outbreaks
From 2008 to 2017 there were six reported outbreaks in Minnesota associated with other types of water resulting in 40 known illnesses. Four were outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease; these outbreaks were associated with exposure to a decorative water wall in a casino, exposure to a drinking water distribution system in a restaurant, exposure to a cooling tower, and an unknown exposure at a senior living facility. The other two were outbreaks of giardiasis; both outbreaks were associated with drinking surface water along a hiking trail.
Charts, graphs, and maps
- Recreational Water Illness Outbreaks in Minnesota by County, 2008-2017 (PDF)
Map showing the location of reported recreational waterborne illness outbreaks in Minnesota by county.
- Recreational Water Illness Outbreaks in Minnesota by Illness Type, 2008-2017 (PDF)
Bar chart showing the number of recreational waterborne illness outbreaks by type of illness.
More Minnesota Waterborne Illness Statistics
Control Newsletter Annual Summaries
Annual summaries of surveillance data for diseases and conditions reportable to the Minnesota Department of Health.
of Gastroenteritis Outbreaks in Minnesota
Summary of gastroenteritis outbreaks in Minnesota that is published each year. Outbreaks summarized include those from food, water, animal contact, and person-to-person transmission.