National Geographic : 2002 Feb
get their drinking water from the lakes and ponds in rural areas are the most suscepti ble, but they are now begin ning to practice a recently devised method of protec tion. Folding clean, dry sari material several times (below) and placing it over the mouth of a jug before collecting water creates a barrier against plankton to which the cholera bacteria are attached. "Many infectious diseases have a water connec tion, but often there's an easy solution that will stop people from getting sick." -KAREN KASMAUSKI Improved agricultural hygiene can help stop the transmission of intestinal bugs internationally. When more than 2,000 people in the U.S. and Canada fell ill from the cyclospora parasite car ried by Guatemalan raspber ries in the late 1990s, suppliers cleaned up their operations. New wells now deliver clean water to the fields, and pickers begin work (above) only after washing their hands. "Farms are care fully reviewed by inspectors on a regular basis," says Rob ert Klein, a research director from the U.S. Centers for Dis ease Control and Prevention who helped implement safety measures. "It all seems to be working. There haven't been any subsequent outbreaks."