F Diagram


Over 90% of the cause of diarrheal deaths is unsafe drinking-water, poor sanitation, and insufficient hygiene. Human and animal feces are the main source of diarrheal pathogens. These bugs enter the environment when people and animals defecate, and are then spread to other humans by fingers, flies, in fluids (mostly water), and via surfaces, such as fields.



Each year, 5 million people, mostly children under the age of 5, die from preventable water-related illnesses.

Water-related diseases can be divided into the following four groups:


Water-borne diseases are transmitted through the ingestion of water contaminated with human or animal feces containing pathogenic bacteria or viruses. Some examples are dysentery, typhoid, cholera, and other diarrheal diseases.


Water-washed diseases are caused by lack of water for personal and domestic cleanliness or contact with contaminated water. Some examples include skin and eye infections such as trachoma and scabies.


Water-based diseases are transmitted via an intermediate host which lives in water and causes illness in humans who ingest the water or use it for washing. Some examples are guinea worm and schistosomiasis, which the World Health Organization reports currently infects 200 million people in 76 countries.


Water-related insect vector diseases are transmitted by insects which breed in water or bite near water. These diseases are not associated with lack of access to clean water, but their spread is often facilitated by the construction of large-scale irrigation systems and reservoirs that create conditions favorable to their hosts. Examples of these diseases include malaria, dengue, yellow fever, and filariasis.


Pneumonia and diarrhea are among the leading causes of child deaths globally and disproportionately impact children born into extreme poverty. After the newborn period, nearly as many children die from these two diseases as from all other causes (such as malaria, AIDS, injuries and measles).
Learn more >>

diarrhea and pnuemonia chart


On average, children in poor countries have an average of four to five episodes of serious diarrhea annually, severely undermining their nutritional status and propelling them into a vicious cycle of disease.  It is estimated that unsafe water, lack of sanitation and insufficient hygiene are responsible for 50% of underweight children in the world.  Malnourished children are more vulnerable to other infectious diseases, and are less likely to fully recover. The World Health Organization estimates that an additional 860,000 children die annually from malnutrition and the consequences of malnutrition, induced by unsafe water, inadequate sanitation and insufficient hygiene.

cycle of diarrhea and malnutrition