CDC Article on Waterborne Disease Outbreaks

In the March 14, 2024, edition of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, CDC published an article titled “Surveillance of Waterborne Disease Outbreaks Associated with Drinking Water — United States, 2015–2020.

Text copied from Summary Results section: “During 2015-2020, public health officials from 28 states voluntarily reported 214 outbreaks associated with drinking water and 454 contributing factor types.  The reported etiologies included 187 (87%) biofilm associated, 24 (11%) enteric illness associated, two (1%) unknown, and one (<1%) chemical or toxin.  A total of 172 (80%) outbreaks were linked to water from public water systems, 22 (10%) to unknown water systems, 17 (8%) to individual or private systems, and two (0.9%) to other systems; one (0.5%) system type was not reported.  Drinking water-associated outbreaks resulted in at least 2,140 cases of illness, 563 hospitalizations (26% of cases), 88 deaths (4% of cases).  Individual or private water systems were implicated in 944 (43%) cases, 52 (9%) hospitalizations, and 14 (16%) deaths.

Nontuberculous mycobacteria and Legionella were identified as the “…predominant causes of hospitalizations and deaths from waterborne- and drinking water-associated disease.”

Link to CDC article:,and%2014%20(16%25)%20deaths.

Following the list of references there are a series of Tables and Figures.  Highlight of some of the tables: Tables 1 through 6 present the waterborne outbreaks by State for each year, 2015 through 2020.  Table 7 ranks the various causative agents, type of water system and type of source (groundwater vs surface water).  Figure 1 presents a map of the US, with individual States presented in different categories of the number of waterborne outbreaks during 2015 through 2020.