Water related disease outbreak (WRDO) statistics in Italy from 1998 to 2005 have been discussed in this paper. The true incidence of WRDO is not reflected in the National Surveillance System (NSS), although this study has provided information on pathogens associated to different water sources, incidence in Regions and inadequacy of regulations. 192 outbreaks and 2546 cases of WRD were reported to the NSS, an average of 318 cases per year. Cases were associated to shellfish (58.79%), drinking water (39.94%) and agricultural products (1.25%). WRDs have been detected in 76% of Regions: central and southern Regions showed lower percentage of cases (35.4%) due to under-reporting. Most of WRD cases in the North were related to drinking water; WRDs in marine coastal Regions were mostly related to shellfish. 49% of Districts (Province) notified WRDs, including only 101 Municipalities. Pathogenic microorganisms were identified in a few cases from clinical investigations. They included enteric viruses, Norwalk viruses, Salmonella, Shigella, Giardia and Campylobacter. There is the need to improve the existing NSS in relation to WRDs. An adequate WRDs Surveillance System should be based on connection between health and environmental authorities, priority pathogens and critical areas identification, response capability and contingency plans.

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