Volume 95, Issue 5
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Since point-of-use methods of water filtration have shown limited acceptance in Vellore, southern India, this study evaluated the effectiveness of decentralized membrane filtration 1) with safe storage, 2) without safe storage, versus 3) no intervention, consisting of central chlorination as per government guidelines, in improving the microbiological quality of drinking water and preventing childhood diarrhea. Periodic testing of water sources, pre-/postfiltration samples, and household water, and a biweekly follow up of children less than 2 years of age was done for 1 year. The membrane filters achieved a log reduction of 0.86 (0.69–1.06), 1.14 (0.99–1.30), and 0.79 (0.67–0.94) for total coliforms, fecal coliforms, and , respectively, in field conditions. A 24% (incidence rate ratio, IRR [95% confidence interval, CI] = 0.76 [0.51–1.13]; = 0.178) reduction in diarrheal incidence in the intervention village with safe storage and a 14% (IRR [95% CI] = 1.14 [0.75–1.77]; = 0.530) increase in incidence for the intervention village without safe storage versus no intervention village was observed, although not statistically significant. Microbiologically, the membrane filters decreased fecal contamination; however, provision of decentralized membrane-filtered water with or without safe storage was not protective against childhood diarrhea.

[open-access] This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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  • Received : 16 Sep 2015
  • Accepted : 20 Jul 2016

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