Water Sanitation Health

Animal waste, water quality and human health


Publication details

Editors: Dufour A, Bartram J, Bos R and Gannon V
Publication date: 2012
Published on behalf of WHO by IWA Publishing

Languages: English
ISBN: 9789241564519 (WHO); 9781780401232 (IWA Publishing)



The excreta (faeces and urine) of mammals and birds are widespread across planet Earth and frequently contaminate water that is used for bathing and recreation, that is treated and distributed for human consumption, and that is used to irrigate crops.

The risk that such contamination represents to human health is inadequately understood. It is widely assumed that faeces of animals represents a lesser risk to human health than human faeces of because of the ‘species barrier’ and especially the species-specificity of most viruses. This book points to a rational and systematic way of assessing the risks and to cost-effective approaches to manage them. The information presented is expected to have important consequences for prioritisation of preventive and remedial interventions.