Recognizing Waterborne Disease
 and The Health Effects of Water Pollution
Patricia L. Meinhardt, MD, MPH, MA, Author

Recognizing Waterborne Disease
And The Health Effects of Water Pollution
Physician On-line Reference Guide

August 8, 2016 - This CME-MOC opportunity is no longer available.

The website has provided access to free web-based information addressing waterborne disease and the health effects of water pollution and contamination to hundreds of thousands of users since 2002. While we are pleased that this website has been a valuable resource to so many, we have made the decision to shut down the website effective August 12, 2016. If you have any questions, please contact us at
On-line Continuing Medical Education Credits (CME)
and Maintenance of Certification Credits (MOC)
Max. 22 Credit Hours
Sponsored By:


Physician On-Line Reference Guide:

Contamination of water reserves by biological, chemical, and radiologic agents may affect the health of millions of residents in the United States as well as many others throughout the world. Water consumers are frequently unaware of the potential health risks associated with exposure to waterborne contaminants and often consult practicing healthcare providers who are unfamiliar with water pollution issues and their subsequent impact on human health. Misdiagnosis and underdiagnosis of water-related disease by the medical community may result in significant morbidity and mortality, particularly in vulnerable populations at increased risk of disease as a result of exposure to waterborne pathogens and chemical and radiologic contaminants.

Recognizing and treating waterborne disease and the health effects of acute and chronic exposure to water pollution is a diagnostic dilemma for most practicing healthcare providers in the United States and across the globe. The majority of healthcare providers have received no formalized training in the recognition, evaluation, and treatment of waterborne disease or in the management of the short- and long-term health effects of water pollution during their medical education or subsequently during their years in active clinical practice.

Healthcare practitioners face many challenges when attempting to accurately diagnose and appropriately manage and treat waterborne disease and the sequelae of acute and chronic exposure to waterborne contaminants. Many of the signs and symptoms of waterborne disease and the health effects of water pollution are non-specific and often mimic more common medical conditions and disorders. Presenting patients may not be aware of previous waterborne exposure and may not provide accurate exposure histories. Many of the pathogens and chemical contaminants found in the water environment are not unique to water and may exhibit multiple routes of exposure and result from other sources of environmental contamination. In addition, the consequences of waterborne exposure in a healthy patient population may present as benign symptoms or self-limited illness while the same waterborne exposure in a vulnerable population may result in significant morbidity including chronic and life-threatening disease and even death.

Any future strategic plan to maintain water quality and protect the public’s health must include the medical community as critical stakeholders and active participants in this ongoing public health challenge. The primary purpose and educational intent of this Physician On-Line Reference Guide is to address the critical need for practicing clinicians to have access to peer-reviewed educational resources to assist them in the recognition, management and prevention of waterborne disease and the health effects of water pollution resulting from natural, accidental or intentional contamination of water reserves. This Physician On-Line Reference Guide provides free access to more than 450 webpages of clinically relevant information on a “24/7” basis.

Over a five year period, this Physician On-Line Reference Guide has received more than 10 million hits for information from over 350,000 visitors located in 105 countries and 9 regions and territories. More than 425 organizations have highlighted and incorporated this medical website as a waterborne disease medical reference guide and several branches of the US military have utilized this website. In addition, with sponsorship from the American College of Preventive Medicine, a 22-hour online Continuing Medical Education (CME) offering has been developed for review of the content of Recognizing Waterborne Disease and the Health Effects of Water Pollution: A Physician On-Line Reference Guide. American Board of Preventive Medicine (ABPM) diplomates may also earn lifelong learning Maintenance of Certification (MOC) credits by participating in this educational activity. We trust that this on-line medical reference guide will provide you with valuable resources and useful education tools to address waterborne disease and the health effects of water pollution in your patients and in your community.

Page last modified on April 23, 2014

Patricia L. Meinhardt, MD, MPH, MA, Author

The American College of Preventive Medicine (ACPM) is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

ACPM designates this educational activity for a maximum of 22 hours in Category 1 credit toward the American Medical Association (AMA) Physician's Recognition Award (PRA). Each physician should claim only those hours of credit that he or she actually spends in the activity.

Original funding for this website was provided by the Environmental Protection Agency, the American Water Works Association, and the Arnot Ogden Medical Center.

This website does not host any form of advertisement.

External sites and linkages are not endorsed by the Environmental Protection Agency, American Water Works Association, Arnot Ogden Medical Center or the author.

This page may be reproduced noncommercially by physicians and other health care professionals to share with one another and their patients.
Any other reproduction is subject to approval.
© 2000 - 2016 American Water Works Association. All Rights Reserved

Print This Page

Privacy Statement | Disclaimer | Internet Guidelines for Health Related Information | Previous Page | Contact Us
We comply with the HONcode standard for
health trust worthy information:
verify here.