Pathogens (including cholera bacterium) in drinking water and contaminated food cause infectious diarrhea, which contributes to the deaths of 3 million young children each year; Helminthic infections of multicellular organisms transmitted in water such as Lymphatic Filariasis affects more than 120 million people worldwide, mainly in India and Africa; Onchocerciasis causes acute and chronic inflammation of the eyes and skin, affecting nearly 18 million people in Africa and the Americas; Schistosomiasis infects 200 million people in the developing world; Necator americanus and Ancylostoma duodenale (the hookworms), and Trichuris trichiura (the whipworm); infects more than a quarter of the world’s population producing anemia in children and pregnant women; Kinetoplastid diseases, involving single-cell parasites transmitted by an insect vector in water, infect 120 million people in the third world.
Preventing of infectious diseases, always preferable to treatment, is done through the passive removal of pathogens and organisms from drinking water. I pioneered the creation of sub-micron dimensioned high aspect structures and applied them in a porous matrix implementation of ophthalmology treatment. A large area porous membrane subtended in a multi-chamber manifold constitutes a sterilization system. The tasks remaining are to develop fabrication tools, select materials for the economic production of membranes, and to refine ergonomic design of manifolds.
A large ‘open’ fraction porous matrix will allow a liquid to freely pass through, but not any suspended matter that has a physical cross section larger than the size of pores. Bacteria come in a range of sizes but none with a cross section smaller than 200 nm (0.2 micron). Thus a porous matrix with pores 200 nm in dimension will extract purified water (bacteria free) from the cross-flow of putrid water. Single and multi cellular parasites (and much suspended silt) are much larger than bacteria and would also be extracted from the cross-flow of contaminated water. The physical design of the manifold will be moderated through ergonomic feedback from third world users.
Every family/individual possessing one of these filters could quaff from the Ganges, Nile, or rice paddy with immunity. There are no moving parts, no consumables, no energy input (save a small gravity head) and no (recurring) costs associated with this sanitation process.
If globally applied, removal of pathogens from drinking water and contaminated food could prevent the deaths of 3 million young children each year. Removal of infectious organisms from water would alleviate pain, suffering and/or death of half a billion people worldwide.