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Water-washed

Water-washed diseases are infections that are caused by poor personal hygiene resulting from inadequate water availability. These ailments may be prevented if people have adequate supplies of clean water available for personal hygiene.

Typical water-washed diseases include Shigella, which causes dysentery, scabies, trachoma, yaws, leprosy, conjunctivitis, skin infections and ulcers.

Scabies is a highly contagious skin infection. It can be identified by an extremely itchy rash of pimple-like markings that appears on the hands, elbows, knees, breasts, shoulders, or elsewhere.

Scabies is caused by a microscopic, skin-burrowing mite known as Sarcoptes scabei. Scratching of the itchy scabies rash can cause open sores that may be infected by additional bacteria. Scabies is easily transferred through person-to-person contact and some 300 million people contract the disease each year.

Trachoma is an eye infection and the world’s foremost cause of preventable blindness. It is caused by a pathogenic bacterium and spreads easily from person-to-person through fluids discharged from infected eyes.

The disease typically infects children. It progresses over the years, often supplemented through frequent reinfections, until blindness or other severe symptoms appear later in life. Trachoma scars the inside of a victim’s eyelids and causes the eyelashes to turn in. The lashes rub and scar the cornea, eventually causing severe vision loss and blindness.

More than six million people worldwide may be blind because of this disease, and some 150 million more await treatment.

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