Causes and Symptoms of Waterborne Illness
Waterborne illness is caused by recreational or drinking water contaminated by disease-causing microbes or pathogens. Of note, many waterborne pathogens can also be acquired by consuming contaminated food or beverages, from contact with animals or their environment, or through person-to-person spread.
- Recreational Water Illnesses
Answers to frequently asked questions about recreational water illnesses.
Symptoms of Waterborne Illness
Waterborne illnesses can cause a variety of symptoms. While diarrhea and vomiting are the most commonly reported symptoms of waterborne illness, other symptoms can include skin, ear, respiratory, or eye problems.
Causes of Waterborne Illness
Commonly recognized waterborne infections are:
- Cyclosporiasis (Cyclospora spp.)
coli O157:H7 Infection (E. coli O157)
and Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS)
- Giardiasis (Giardia)
- Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs)
- Hot Tub Rash (Pseudomonas Dermatitis/Folliculitis)
- Legionellosis (Legionella)
- Naegleria fowleri and Primary Amebic Meningoencephalitis
- Norovirus Infection
(aka Norwalk virus, calicivirus, viral gastroenteritis)
- Shigellosis (Shigella)
- Swimmer's Ear (Otitis Externa)
- Swimmer's Itch (Cercarial Dermatitis)
Do you suspect you
have a waterborne illness?
Please report your suspected waterborne illness to the Minnesota Department of Health.
For additional information on waterborne illness