It has been said that cleanliness is next to godliness.
Whether or not that statement is true, cleanliness is certainly next to healthiness.
Briggs identifies lack of hygiene to be a major cause of the devastating cholera outbreak in Latin America. Cholera is an infection in the small intestine that causes dehydration and can kill an adult of dehydration in as few as ten hours. Briggs claims these deaths resulted from the inadequacies of medical services and their neglect in educating their people about cleanliness and about the disease. Communities with the worst sanitation, cholera spread like wild fire.
Like Cholera, diarrheal disease kill its victims of dehydration and the gastrointestinal infections are highly contagious. These pathogens spread through dirty hands, contaminated food and water, pets, and direct contact with fecal matters. Because of this, diarrheal viruses quickly pass through a household and entire community, especially if sanitation is poor. Research shows that improved sanitation, water disinfection and hygiene achieves a 30-50% reduction of diarrheal disease.
Intentional action to improve hygiene will have significant success in action against diseases such as cholera and diarrheal diseases. Primarily, communities need continuous safe water supply, and sanitation facilities to dispose of feces, as well as technologies and to improve household hygiene. Hygiene improvement involves efforts both on the part of authorities as well as individuals.