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REDUCING DIARRHEA THROUGH THE USE OF HOUSEHOLD-BASED CERAMIC WATER FILTERS: A RANDOMIZED, CONTROLLED TRIAL IN RURAL BOLIVIA.

Am J Trop Med Hyg , 2004; 70(6):651-7
Ceramic water filters have been identified as one of the most promising and accessible technologies for treating water at the household level. In a six-month trial, water filters were distributed randomly to half of the 50 participating households in a rural community in Bolivia; the remaining households continued to use customary water handling practices and served as controls. In four rounds of sampling following distribution of the filters, 100% of the 96 water samples from the filter households were free of thermotolerant coliforms compared with 15.5% of the control household samples. Diarrheal disease risk for individuals in intervention households was 70% lower than for controls (95% confidence interval [CI] = 53-80%; P < 0.001). For children less than five years old, the reduction in risk was 83% (95% CI = 51-94%; P < 0.001). These results show that affordable ceramic water filters enable low-income households to treat and maintain the microbiologic quality of their drinking water.