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What is the Safe Water System (SWS)?
Why was the SWS developed?
Who is the SWS for?
Where has the Safe Water System (SWS) been used?
How is a SWS started?

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Where has the Safe Water System been used?

Project Partners

  • CDC
  • Universidad de Valle, Guatemala City, Guatemala
  • Instituto Nutricional de Centroamerica y Panama, Guatemala City, Guatemala
  • The Procter and Gamble Company

Target Populations/Location

  • Food vendors in municipal marketplaces in Guatemala City

Project Design

  • Research project to determine whether use of the SWS would improve the quality of beverages prepared by street vendors

Intervention Elements

  • CDC safe water storage vessel
  • Locally available commercial bleach
  • Antibacterial soap
  • Health education

Project Implementation Date

  • June 1996

Results of Project Evaluations

  • Street-vended foods and beverages, an integral part of urban economics in the developing world, have been implicated in cholera transmission in Latin America. To improve the microbiologic quality of market-vended beverages in Guatemala, we tested a simple system consisting of dilute bleach (4.95% free available chlorine) for water purification, narrow-mouth plastic vessels with spigots for disinfecting and storing water and for preparing and storing beverages, handwashing soap, and education in using the system. We conducted a randomized controlled intervention trial among 41 vendors who received the intervention and 42 control vendors, comparing total and fecal coliform bacteria and Escherichia coli contamination of market-vended beverages, stored water, and vendors' hands. Samples were obtained at baseline and at each of six weekly follow-up visits. At baseline, fecal coliform bacteria were found in 40 (48%) market-vended beverages and E. coli in 14 (17%). When compared with samples from control vendors, a significant decrease in total coliform (P<0.001) and fecal coliform (P<0.001) bacteria in samples of stored water and beverages sold by intervention vendors was observed over the course of the study. The vessel system was well accepted by vendors.

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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Foodborne and Diarrheal Diseases Branch

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