Volume 54, Issue 5
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Epidemiologic investigations of the Latin America cholera epidemic have repeatedly implicated untreated drinking water and water touched by hands during storage as important vehicles for disease transmission. To prevent such transmission, we provided a new narrow-mouthed, plastic, water storage vessel and 5% calcium hypochlorite solution for home disinfection of stored water to a Bolivian Aymara Indian community at risk for cholera. We evaluated acceptance of this intervention and its effect on water quality. Each of 42 families in the study obtained water from a household well; fecal coliform bacteria were found in water from 39 (93%) of 42 wells and 33 (79%) of 42 usual water storage vessels. One group of families received the special vessels and chlorine (group A), a second received only the special vessels (group B), and a third served as a control group (group C). Water samples collected every three weeks from group A special vessels had lower geometric mean fecal coliform colony counts ( < 0.0001) and lower geometric mean colony counts ( < 0.0001) than water from group B or C vessels. Adequate levels of free chlorine persisted in these vessels for at least 5 hr. The special vessels and chlorine solution were well accepted and continued to be used for at least six months. Use of the vessel and chlorine solution produced drinking water from nonpotable sources that met World Health Organization standards for microbiologic quality.


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