Bacteria in Drinking Water: How they affect health

Bacteria in Drinking Water

Bacteria in drinking water and how they affect health

Bacteria in drinking water

The bacteria in water are more present than we think, so we ingest them without being aware of it. There are many bacteria that can contaminate water, so we must know where they come from and what they are.

Micro-organisms coexist with our environment in a favourable environment, even within our organism. Together with protozoa, fungi, viruses, viroids, prions and others, bacteria comprise the microbiological agents. Some are non-pathogenic, such as the bacteria of the flora (microbiota). Some bacteria can cause common diseases such as pharyngitis, pneumonia, gastroenteritis, ..... 

Bacteria are present in our environment, such as in our water, which contains millions of bacteria, even in the water itself. drinking water. The water we consume on a daily basis is made drinkable by water treatment systems, reducing the risk of harmful pathogens. 

Drinking water monitoring needed

The majority of cases where the drinking water is contaminated is not due to the water supply system, but to contamination of the water through the pipes through which it flows or where it is stored. 

The effects that can be caused by micro-organisms in water health effects range from gastroenteritis, which can be mild to severe, hepatitis, dysentery and typhoid fever. However, if ingested in small quantities, a slight discomfort may be noted. 

At Sensactive technology, we work to detect this set of microorganisms, such as bacteria in the water, through our dedicated and sensitive monitoring system. Water Biosense is characterised by the continuous detection of levels of agents of concern affecting the health of the population. 

Our service can help institutions, authorities and public health bodies to prevent the occurrence of such cases as closures of public fountains or buildings due to e.g. outbreaks of legionella. 

Types of bacteria in water

Water contamination is more common than we think, as is the case with foodstuffs, requiring sanitary control and potabilisation of the water. The consumption of non-drinking water is a risk to human health because of its microbiological content, and water quality is crucial for health.

Bacteria in water pose a risk to the population, especially to the most vulnerable groups, such as the elderly, children, pregnant women, etc. 

There are many types of bacteria in water that vary in their degree of danger and their persistence in the water supply.

Escherichia coli

It is a non-harmful bacterium found in our gut microbiota. If it appears in other parts of the body it can cause infection, which in some cases can be serious. E.coli is an indicator bacteria for faecal contamination of water.

The source of transmission is contaminated recreational water and drinking water due to, for example, rainwater seepage with livestock excreta. 

Campylobacter jejuni

Bacteria of this type occur in many environments, especially where animals are present and water is a source of transmission. 

Its occurrence depends on rainfall, water temperature and the presence of aquatic waters. 

They can cause infections with symptoms such as cramps, fever, abdominal pain and diarrhoea occurring mainly in children. It is therefore necessary to monitor drinking water for this group. 


Among the bacteria in drinking water, Shigella can cause clinical pictures of intestinal diseases with common symptoms being stomach cramps, fever or watery diarrhoea. 

They are usually transmitted via faecal-oral contaminated water. Efforts should be made to protect natural water supplies from animal and human waste, so that contamination and occurrence of these bacteria does not occur. 


It is divided into Salmonella enterica or Salmonella choleraesuis, Salmonella bongori and Salmonella typhi, and can contaminate both water and food. 

The source of transmission is via faecal contamination of discharges from livestock, wildlife and sewage. The most common symptom manifestations are gastroenteritis, septicaemia or bacteraemia. 

Legionella pneumophila

This bacterium can cause mild infections such as pontiac fever or serious infections such as Legionnaires' disease. This disease affects adults, more men than women, between 40 and 70 years of age, who have risk factors such as smoking, alcohol abuse, cancer, diabetes... 

Legionella is special in that it is transmitted between patients via the respiratory route, or from humidification or spraying systems when inhaled. They appear in greater numbers in human-made aquatic environments (cooling towers, evaporative condensers or spas), and their growth is favoured under certain temperature conditions.

Legionella is a health threat, with recorded outbreaks of legionellosis requiring tough legislative control for its control and proper prevention.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa

It can cause a number of infections but is rarely serious. Milder manifestations are, for example, water-related ear infections following sudden changes from warm to humid environments. This usually occurs in swimming pools and spas

The measures used for the disinfection of this bacterium in water are those that minimise the growth of biofilmsThe water is then treated with a disinfectant, reduces the residence time of the water in the distribution system and removes the residues of those disinfectants.