Minimizing waterborne pathogens and disease outbreaks of humans, animals and ecosystems in a changing world
Big problems need big solutions Waterborne disease outbreaks are increasing in number and severity worldwide. Coinciding with the rapid expansion of the built environment, the risk of disease outbreaks in coastal regions are associated with pollutants containing microbial contaminants – including sewage and wastewater outfalls, terrestrial or agricultural runoff, and aquaculture discharge. Outbreaks of disease have led to the widespread degradation of services provided to people from marine resources that provide food, coastal protection, tourism income, and cultural value. In addition, nearly two-thirds of human infections are zoonotic, meaning they are animal pathogens that have been transmitted to humans. With an estimated 1 billion people are projected to reside in coastal zones by 2060, reducing outbreak risks in marine environments will be vital for improving human and ecosystem health.