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Waterborne Disease Risk Assessment Program

Ever since Cryptosporidium and Giardia, and potential waterborne exposure to these microorganisms, gained national attention in the 1980s and 90s, NYC's Department of Environmental Protection and Department of Health and Mental Hygiene have been actively engaged in efforts to address and further understand this issue. Not only have these NYC departments been active participants in the national effort, such as serving on CDC's Working Group on Waterborne Cryptosporidium, but they have also taken the initiative to create innovative programs at the local level such as the Waterborne Disease Risk Assessment Program (WDRAP).

New York City's Waterborne Disease Risk Assessment Program was established to (a) obtain data on the rates of giardiasis and cryptosporidiosis, along with demographic and risk factor information on case patients, (b) provide a system to track diarrheal illness to assure rapid detection of any outbreaks, and (c) determine the contribution (if any) of tap water consumption to gastrointestinal disease. The program, jointly administered by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Department of Environmental Protection, began in 1993.

Every year since the start of the program, a Waterborne Disease Risk Assessment Program Annual Report has been published as a deliverable under the United States Environmental Protection Agency Filtration Avoidance Determination. Each report provides an annual overview of program achievements as well as data results from the Active Disease Surveillance Program. In addition, the report summarizes trends observed in each of the program's distinct and complementary gastrointestinal (GI) outbreak detection systems: gastrointestinal disease observed in sentinel nursing homes, number of stool specimens submitted to clinical laboratories for microbiological testing, hospital Emergency Department visit reports, and volume-of-sales of non-prescription anti-diarrheal medication. Each of these systems adds to the comprehensiveness of the program, ranking it among the best public health surveillance systems for water quality in the nation.

Although these syndromic surveillance systems do not identify specific routes of exposure, nor explicitly giardiasis or cryptosporidiosis, they do serve as important and sensitive tools to help detect GI outbreaks. While some localized GI outbreaks in NYC have been detected through these monitoring systems, none of these outbreaks have been found to be attributed to waterborne agents.

All WDRAP Annual Reports are posted below. A new annual report is completed and released each spring.

NOTE: Due to formatting issues, a few tables may show up without their appropriate lines. However, the WDRAP team is working to resolve this matter.

Waterborne Disease Risk Assessment Program Annual Reports:

Reservoir Levels

Current: 71.3%

Normal: 84.1%