Microbiological Effectiveness of Disinfecting Water by Boiling in Rural Guatemala

Ghislaine Rosa Department of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom; University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin

Search for other papers by Ghislaine Rosa in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
Laura Miller Department of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom; University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin

Search for other papers by Laura Miller in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
, and
Thomas Clasen Department of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom; University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin

Search for other papers by Thomas Clasen in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
Restricted access

Boiling is the most common means of treating water in the home and the benchmark against which alternative point-of-use water treatment options must be compared. In a 5-week study in rural Guatemala among 45 households who claimed they always or almost always boiled their drinking water, boiling was associated with a 86.2% reduction in geometric mean thermotolerant coliforms (TTC) (N = 206, P < 0.0001). Despite consistent levels of fecal contamination in source water, 71.2% of stored water samples from self-reported boilers met the World Health Organization guidelines for safe drinking water (0 TTC/100 mL), and 10.7% fell within the commonly accepted low-risk category of (1–10 TTC/100 mL). As actually practiced in the study community, boiling significantly improved the microbiological quality of drinking water, though boiled and stored drinking water is not always free of fecal contaminations.

Author Notes

*Address correspondence to Thomas Clasen, Department of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel St., London, WC1E 7HT UK. E-mail: thomas.clasen@lshtm.ac.uk

Authors' addresses: Ghislaine Rosa, Laura Miller, and Thomas Clasen, Department of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, WC1E 7HT, United Kingdom, E-mails: ghislaine.rose@lshtm.ac.uk, l_miller@uwalumni.com, and thomas.clasen@lshtm.ac.uk.

  • 1.

    Rosa G, Clasen T, 2010. Estimating the scope of household water treatment in low- and middle-income countries. Am J Trop Med Hyg 82: 289300.

  • 2.

    Sobsey MD, 2002. Managing Water in the Home: Accelerated Health Gains from Improved Water Supply. Geneva: The World Health Organization (WHO/SDE/WSH/02.07).

  • 3.

    WHO, 2008. Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality. Third edition. Geneva: World Health Organization,

  • 4.

    Wright J, Gundry S, Conroy R, 2004. Household drinking water in developing countries: a systematic review of microbiological contamination between source and point-of-use. Trop Med Int Health 9: 106117.

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 5.

    Clasen TF, Thao do H, Boisson S, Shipin O, 2008. Microbiological effectiveness and cost of boiling to disinfect drinking water in rural Vietnam. Environ Sci Technol 42: 42554260.

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 6.

    Clasen T, McLaughlin C, Nayaar N, Boisson S, Gupta R, Desai D, Shah N, 2008. Microbiological effectiveness and cost of disinfecting water by boiling in semi-urban India. Am J Trop Med Hyg 79: 407413.

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 7.

    Oswald WE, Lescano AG, Bern C, Calderon MM, Cabrera L, Gilman RH, 2007. Fecal contamination of drinking water within peri-urban households, Lima, Peru. Am J Trop Med Hyg 77: 699704.

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 8.

    Levy K, Hubbard AE, Nelson KL, Eisenberg JN, 2009. Drivers of water quality variability in northen coastal Ecuador. Environ Sci Technol 15: 17881797.

  • 9.

    Luby SP, Syed AH, Atiullah N, Faizan MK, Fisher-Hoch S, 1999. Limited effectiveness of home drinking water purification efforts in Karachi, Pakistan. Int J Infect Dis 4: 37.

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 10.

    PRESANCA, 2009. Fortalecimiento Municipal en Seguridad Alimentaria y Nutricional y Desarrollo Local 2006–2009. Resumen de Logros y Avances. Municipio de san Mateo Ixtatán. Departamento de Huehuetenango, Guatemala.

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 11.

    APHA, 2001. Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater. 21st edition. Washington, DC: American Public Health Association/American Water Works Association/Water Environment Federation, Washington, DC.

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 12.

    Lloyd B, Helmer R, 1991. Surveillance of Drinking Water Quality in Rural Areas. Essex, England: Longman Scientific and Technical.

  • 13.

    Clasen TF, Thao do H, Boisson S, Shipin O, 2008. Microbiological effectiveness and cost of boiling to disinfect drinking water in rural Vietnam. Environ Sci Technol 42: 42554260.

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 14.

    McLaughlin LA, Levy K, Beck NK, Shin GA, Meschke JS, Eisenberg JN, 2009. An observational study on the effectiveness of point-of-use chlorination. J Environ Health 71: 4853.

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 15.

    Wright J, Gundry S, Conroy R, 2003. Household drinking water in developing countries: a systematic review of microbiological contamination between source and point-of-use. Trop Med Int Health 9: 106117.

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 16.

    Wright J, Gundry S, Conroy J, 2004. Household drinking water in developing countries: a systematic review of microbiological contamination between source and point-of-use. Trop Med Int Health 9: 106.

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 17.

    Arnold B., Mäusezahl D, Hubbard A, Colford JM Jr, 2009. Evaluation of a pre-existing, 3-year household water treatment and handwashing intervention in rural Guatemala. Int J Epidemiol 38: 16511661.

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 18.

    Moser S, Heri S, Mosler HJ, 2005. Determinants of the Diffusion of SODIS. A Qualitative Field Study in Bolivia: Summary Report.

  • 19.

    Boisson S, Schmidt WP, Berhanu T, Gerrage K, Gairaj V, 2009. Randomized controlled trial in rural Ethiopia to assess a portable water treatment device. Environ Sci Technol 43: 407413.

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 20.

    Rose A, Roy S, Abraham V, Holmgren G, George K, Bairaj V, Abrahams S, Muliyil J, Joseph A, Kang G, 2006. Solar disinfection of water for diarrhoeal prevention in southern India. Arch Dis Child 91: 139141.

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 21.

    Hunter PR, Zmirou-Navier D, Hartemann P, 2009. Estimating the impact on health of poor reliability of drinking water interventions in developing countries. Sci Total Environ 407: 26212624.

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 22.

    Gupta SK, Suanatio O, Gray A, Widyastuti E, Jain N, Rolos R, Hoekstra RM, Quick R, 2007. Factors associated with E. coli contamination of household drinking water among tsunami and earthquake survivors, Indonesia. Am J Trop Med Hyg 76: 11581162.

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
Past two years Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 326 324 39
Full Text Views 562 11 1
PDF Downloads 281 9 3
 
 
 
 
Affiliate Membership Banner
 
 
Research for Health Information Banner
 
 
CLOCKSS
 
 
 
Society Publishers Coalition Banner
Save