Protozoan parasites in drinking water: A system approach for improved water, sanitation and hygiene in developing countries

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Improved water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) are significant in preventing diarrhea morbidity and mortality caused by protozoa in low- and middle-income countries. Due to the intimate and complex relationships between the different WASH components, it is often necessary to improve not just one but all of these components to have sustainable results. The objective of this paper was to review the current state of WASH-related health problems caused by parasitic protozoa by: giving an overview and classification of protozoa and their effect on people’s health, discussing different ways to improve accessibility to safe drinking water, sanitation services and personal hygiene behavior; and suggesting an institutional approach to ensure improved WASH. The findings indicate that Giardia and Cryptosporidium are more often identified during waterborne or water-washed outbreaks and they are less sensitive than most of the bacteria and viruses to conventional drinking water and wastewater treatment methods. There are various institutions of control and prevention of water-related diseases caused by protozoa in developed countries. Unfortunately, the developing regions do not have comparable systems. Consequently, the institutional and systems approach to WASH is necessary in these countries.


External organisations
  • Karaganda State Medical University
  • Semey State Medical University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
  • Microbiology in the medical area


  • Cryptosporidium, Developing countries, Drinking water, Giardia, Protozoan parasites, WASH
Original languageEnglish
Article number495
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Mar 12
Publication categoryResearch