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Access Type

Open Access

Degree Program

Public Health

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



Watershed, Gastrointestinal Disease, Microorganism, Factors


Microbial contaminants in water are a major public health concern. Pathogens have been identified as a primary threat to river water quality in the United States, potentially impacting drinking and irrigation water sources and recreational waters. Agricultural runoff, feedlot operations, wastewater effluents, swimming activities, domestic and wild animals are potential sources of microbial contamination. This thesis presents Massachusetts as a case study for linking public health data of waterborne gastrointestinal diseases with sources of drinking water, potential recreational exposures, as well as hydrologic, climatic, and land use data. Giardia sp. has been chosen as a model organism. Information of reported human Giardiasis cases has been synthesized. Using Geological Information system and statistical software (SPSS and SAS) relationships of confirmed Giardiasis have been compared with available climate and hydrologic data. In this thesis the research finding suggest that there is no visible difference in disease occurrence related with amount of precipitation or extreme rain event. However human giardiasis in Massachusetts has been found related with temperature thus shows a seasonal trend in disease occurrence. Seasonal water related human activity likely have played a role in disease occurrence.

First Advisor

Sarah M Dorner