Infectious water-borne pathogens are a major cause of morbidity and mortality. A substantial proportion of water-borne disease is caused by established pathogens. However, emerging pathogens present important challenges to the water and health sectors. The last 30 to 40 years has seen the initial identification of a number of significant pathogens that can be water-borne including rotavirus, norovirus, V.cholerae 0139, Cryptosporidium, Campylobacter and Legionella. Many more are classified as emerging due to detection of increased incidence of disease or detection in areas where they were not previously established. The emergence of infectious diseases, including those that are water-borne, is caused by a number of factors such as population growth, migration, travel, new environments, climate change, improved methodology and drug resistance. Understanding these factors is an important component of establishing effective management of water resources and drinking water safety plans.

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