They keep cholera at bay with a simple sari

May 20th, 2010 - 3:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, May 20 (IANS) A study on village women in Bangladesh, who filter water with their saris, found that this method not only keeps cholera at bay in households but also cuts down the likelihood of disease in the neighbourhood.
“A simple method for filtering pond and river water to reduce the incidence of cholera, field tested in Matlab, Bangladesh, proved effective in reducing the incidence of cholera by 48 percent,” says study author Rita Colwell, a University of Maryland researcher.

“This follow-up study conducted five years later (after 2003) showed that 31 percent of the village women continued to filter water for their households, with both an expected and an unexpected benefit,” Colwell adds.

In 2003, a study conducted by Colwell and colleagues demonstrated that collecting water by filtering it through a folded cotton sari reduced the incidence of cholera by nearly half.

The follow-up study was conducted to determine whether sari water filtration continued to be practiced by the same participants.

Over 7,000 village women collecting water daily for their households were selected from the same population used in the previous study.

Survey data showed that 31 percent continued to filter their water, of which 60 percent used a sari.

“This is a clear indication of both compliance with instructions and the sustainability of the method, but it also shows the need for continuing education in the appropriate use and benefits of simple filtration,” Colwell says.

The researchers also looked at the incidence of cholera in households during the five-year follow-up period.

While not statistically significant, they found the incidence of hospitalisations for cholera during that period reduced by 25 percent, a University of Maryland release said.

Researchers also found that households which did not filter their water but were located in neighbourhoods where water filtration was regularly practiced by others also had a lower incidence of cholera.

The results of the study appear in the inaugural issue of mBio™, the first online, open-access journal published by the American Society for Microbiology (ASM).

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