Volume 73, Issue 4
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


Household water treatment is increasingly recognized as an effective means of reducing the burden of diarrheal disease among low-income populations without access to safe water. Oxfam GB undertook a pilot project to explore the use of household-based ceramic water filters in three remote communities in Colombia. In a randomized, controlled trial over a period of six months, the filters were associated with a 75.3% reduction in arithmetic mean thermotolerant coliforms (TTCs) ( < 0.0001). A total of 47.7% and 24.2% of the samples from the intervention group had no detectible TTCs/100 mL or conformed to World Health Organization limits for low risk (1–10 TTCs/100 mL), respectively, compared with 0.9% and 7.3% for control group samples. Overall, prevalence of diarrhea was 60% less among households using filters than among control households (odds ratio = 0.40, 95% confidence interval = 0.25, 0.63, < 0.0001). However, the microbiologic performance and protective effect of the filters was not uniform throughout the study communities, suggesting the need to consider the circumstances of the particular setting before implementing this intervention.


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  • Received : 01 Apr 2005
  • Accepted : 23 May 2005
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