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The Unrelenting Crisis In Puerto Rico Is Forcing People To Drink Dirty Water (Vox)

October 18, 2017

From the article:

The water and electrical situations have compounded what’s being called a “slow-motion medical disaster.” Puerto Ricans now face a much higher risk of health problems related to a lack of access to electricity and clean water — from dehydration to leptospirosis, a bacterial disease spread by drinking water contaminated with animal urine that’s already been breaking out.

The public health situation could quickly deteriorate even further, warned Jeremy Konyndyk, senior policy fellow at the Center for Global Development. Outbreaks of cholera, a deadly diarrheal disease caused by eating food or drinking water that’s been contaminated with a bacterium called Vibrio cholerae, often emerge after people have been living without access to clean water. Puerto Rico doesn’t currently have cholera disease, but if it turns up, the island’s mixture of a collapsed public health infrastructure and patchy access to clean water could be a recipe for an outbreak.

“When you have a population that has been accustomed to being able to rely on clean potable water sources, and a new danger is introduced in the environment or their standard sources are no longer reliable, that creates a real risk,” Konyndyk told Vox.

Read full article here.

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Senior Policy Fellow