Microbial Cysts in Drinking Water - Why Do We Have to Know About It

Microbial Cysts in Drinking Water

Water is a vital source of life. Water can be found almost anywhere and everywhere. Moreover, as we are taught back at school, the Earth’s surface is almost covered with water, 71% to be exact. That doesn’t even include the lakes, the waterfalls, the springs, and even the glaciers in the polar regions of the world. Furthermore, some of which bodies above water can even be found in the land.

The water can be found anywhere around the globe. Aside from that, it is a primary contributor to the ecosystem and environment. Not only that, but it is also a major requirement of a person for survival. As a matter of fact, water comprises approximately 60% of the total body count. With that being said, it is important to keep the body hydrated as possible. What better and safer way to achieve this is through the help of water.

The world is getting older and older, and the human race is getting more advanced with technology and transportation. Most especially with business industries and though aware as we are, we had been affecting our environment and our health. With all of these expansions and growth, we had been polluting one of the primary sources of life, and that is water.

This essential that is supposed to be free and available to be consumed anytime is being sold by various companies. Yes, indeed, we are made aware that these products had been chemically studied in certain laboratories. Although scientifically studied, tested, branded, and even advertised, there are still doubtful that big question “is it safe to drink?”

What are Microbial Cysts?

With the changes in the climate and environment nowadays, different microbial cysts in drinking water had been found. Dated back in the mid-’50s since the last outbreak, certain parasites and bacteria were found and still contaminate the drinking water supplies. It can be one of the causes of diseases to known both humans and animals.

Research has found that certain parasites, bacteria, debris, and other microorganisms can be found in water. Namely, CryptosporidiumGiardia, and the newer protozoan were discovered later, known as Cyclospora. This contamination is caused by improperly operating water systems, poorly chlorinated, and unfiltered water supplies.

Three Common Water-Borne Microbial Cysts

Cryptosporidium is a parasite that enters lakes and rivers through sewage and animal waste. It causes cryptosporidiosis, a mild gastrointestinal disease. However, the disease may cause death for people with a poor immune system.

Giardia lamblia is a parasite that also penetrates lakes and rivers through sewage and animal waste. It causes gastrointestinal illness (e.g., diarrhea, vomiting, cramps). Giardia outbreaks can occur in communities where water supplies become contaminated with raw sewage. It can be contracted by drinking water from lakes or streams where water-dwelling animals such as beavers and muskrats or domestic animals such as sheep have caused contamination.

Studies had been conducted and shown that this microorganism could survive in cold waters for a long time.


Cyclosporiasis is an intestinal illness caused by the microscopic parasite Cyclospora cayetanensis. Cyclospora is spread by people ingesting something - such as food or water - contaminated with feces (stool). Cyclospora needs time (days to weeks) after being passed in a bowel movement to become infectious for another person. Therefore, it is unlikely that Cyclospora is passed directly from one person to another. People living or traveling in countries where cyclosporiasis is endemic may be at increased risk of infection.


How Do They Affect our Health?

Medically known as Giardiasis, this waterborne disease is commonly known as “Beaver Fever.” However, it is not specifically related to the main reason for the disease but is somehow associated with beavers. Since it had been known that beavers lived in creeks and dams that somewhat might be contaminated with these parasites and disease, it does not act not only as a host but also as a carrier well. Scientific studies show that humans are susceptible to these water-borne parasites, but animals can be infected once consumed.

When infected, the person will experience mild nausea and acute to severe intestinal distress such as diarrhea and abdominal distress. Although the symptoms cannot be felt on the first day, the incubation period was within 3-25 days. Today, no studies had been known as to how it greatly affects pregnant women and the aged.

However, studies had found that it can sometimes lead to death, especially to infants and those who are immunocompromised due to certain complications such as dehydration and respiratory infections.

Furthermore, there is a newer protozoan that has been found in recent studies, namely, the Cyclospora. It doesn’t affect as much as Giardia along with Crypto. Unlike Giardia, though, once it enters the body, it immediately reproduces cyst. Cyclospora oocytes have to be mature enough to be infectious. On the better half, if the Cyclsopora oocytes had been removed or cleared out of the body before it matures, that person is cleared of this water-borne disease.


Treating the Infection of Microbial Cyst

Most people who have healthy immune systems will recover without treatment. Diarrhea can be managed by drinking plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. People in poor health or who have weakened immune systems are at higher risk for more severe and prolonged illness. Young children and pregnant women may be more susceptible to dehydration resulting from diarrhea and should drink plenty of fluids while ill. Rapid loss of fluids from diarrhea may be especially life-threatening to babies. Therefore, parents should talk to their healthcare providers about fluid replacement therapy options for infants.

Anti-diarrheal medicine may help slow down diarrhea, but a healthcare provider should be consulted before such medicine is taken. Nitazoxanide has been FDA-approved to treat diarrhea caused by Cryptosporidium in people with healthy immune systems and is available by prescription. However, the effectiveness of nitazoxanide in immune-suppressed individuals is unclear.

For Giardia, children and adults who have this infection without symptoms usually don't need treatment unless they're likely to spread the parasites. Many people who do have problems often get better on their own in a few weeks.

When signs and symptoms are severe or the infection persists, doctors usually treat giardiasis with medications. One of them is Metronidazole (Flagyl). Metronidazole is the most commonly used antibiotic for giardia infection. Side effects may include nausea and a metallic taste in the mouth. Don't drink alcohol while taking this medication.

Another drug that is prescribed is Tinidazole (Tindamax). Tinidazole works and metronidazole and has many of the same side effects, but it can be given in a single dose. Lastly, the drug is called Nitazoxanide (Alinia). Because it comes in a liquid form, nitazoxanide may be easier for children to swallow. Side effects may include nausea, flatulence, yellow eyes, and brightly colored yellow urine.

For Cyclospora, the recommended treatment is a combination of two antibiotics, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, also known as Bactrim*, Septra*, or Cotrim*. People who have diarrhea should also rest and drink plenty of fluids.


How to Remove Cysts from Water

There are excellent methods for getting rid of cysts and pharmaceutical drugs from drinking water. They are to chlorinate, distill the water, use UV light or filter it.

Ways to Treat the Water


Energy input needed for distillation involves a higher operating expense than other methods, and the maintenance factor is extremely high. Impurities remain in the boiling chamber and are either automatically or manually flushed out depending on the system.

Air-cooled distillers produce one gallon of distilled water for every gallon of tap water. Water-cooled units produce one gallon of water from eight to 15 gallons of tap water. Distillation also produces "flat" tasting water.


 Chlorine is probably the most effective method to eliminate all categories of microbes: protozoa, cysts, bacteria, and viruses, regardless of micron size. The trick is to have sufficient chlorine in the water and a long enough dwell time to kill the microbes.

 Many water treatment facilities now use Chlorine and Chloramines (chloramine is formed by combining chlorine and ammonia) because chloramine lasts longer in the water. Chlorine and chloramines can then be removed from the water using the appropriate media.

UV Light

Ultraviolet (UV) light kills cells by damaging their DNA. One of the most common types of germicidal UV lights is low-pressure mercury lamps used in many applications, including sewage treatment, purification of drinking water, food processing and irradiation, water reclamation, HVAC air sterilization, and odor control. 


Some "1 micron" and most "nominal 1-micron" filters will not work against Cryptosporidium. The absolute 1-micron filter will more consistently remove Cryptosporidium than a nominal filter. Some nominal 1-micron filters will allow 20% to 30% of 1-micron particles (like Cryptosporidium) to pass through the carbon pores.

The pore size of filter media is identified by the diameter of the particle that it can be expected to retain with a defined, high degree of efficiency. Pore sizes are usually stated in micrometer or microns for short (m), which equals one-millionth of a meter. Pore size ratings refer to the size of a specific particle or organism retained by the filter media to a specific degree of efficiency. Ratings can be stated as either nominal or absolute pore size.

Absolute - An absolute pore size rating specifies the pore size at which a challenging organism of a particular size will be retained with 99.9% efficiency under strictly defined test conditions.

 Among the conditions specified are test organism (or particle size), challenge pressure, concentration, and the detection method used to identify the contaminant. Absolute micro-filters are used for critical applications such as sterilizing and final filtration.

Nominal - A nominal pore size rating describes the ability of the filter media to retain the majority of particulate at (60 - 98%) the rated pore size. Process conditions such as operating pressure, the concentration of the contaminant, etc., have a significant effect on the retention efficiency of the filters.


How Can It be Prevented?

Scientific studies were conducted on how this waterborne disease can be prevented. According to research, Giardia can be killed by prolonged contact with chlorine. While, Cyclospora, since it is larger than Cryptosporidium, can be effectively removed from water through filtration.

However, it had been found out that Cryptosporidium is more resistant to chlorine. In addition, rapid filtration cannot ensure that Cryptosporidium will be removed from the water supplies. Indeed, we had been advancing technologically and in the pharmaceutical industry as well. Yet, there still is no known medication as to how the infected individual can be cured.

These protozoa had been known to have existed back in the mid-1950s. Yet, up until today, they are still causing these water-borne diseases. Scientific studies are still finding certain microorganisms that can somehow inhibit or even kill these protozoa.



What Should your Solution be?

Our focus here is on filtration because no curable medication known to man can inhibit this water-borne disease. Furthermore, scientists are still studying bactericidal organisms to fight these protozoans, viruses, and bacteria. Studies and tests had been conducted to try and filter contaminated water using different methods and products.

Water comes from water sources and supplies. Then, it is chlorinated and treated through water sanitation systems. Though safe from Giardia, we cannot assure ourselves that it is safe to drink. Especially from Cryptosporidium and Cyclospora.

It had been proven and tested that Berkey can purify water to its most potable form. This is without the presence of protozoa, bacteria, viruses, or any other disease-causing microorganisms. With the use of this innovative product, we can now be safe from these disease-causing microorganisms. Moreover, there is an assurance for the whole family that they will be safe from these disease-causing organisms.

The Berkey Filtration System can benefit you highly whenever it comes to ensuring your safety and family. Berkey does not only filtrate the water but also purifies it. Doubling the cleansing effect and increases the chances of a 99.9% elimination of contaminants. All these being said, you will never go wrong in choosing Berkey for your water needs.

Related Posts

Older Post Newer Post