Hookah, a popular recreational drink popular in the Middle East, has long been linked to the spread of diseases including HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatoma.
But the new study, led by scientists at the University of Toronto, found that while the drinking water can provide some protection against some infections, it doesn’t help much in controlling those who are already sick.
The research is published in the journal Scientific Reports.
The team recruited 27 volunteers, mostly men, and divided them into groups based on their level of smoking status, and whether they had had more than one case of hepatitis B or hepatitis C. The participants then drank either a sample of water or a non-water-based water that had been diluted with a solution of the virus.
The volunteers were asked to fill out a questionnaire that included questions about their personal health history and how they planned to use the water.
The team also measured their saliva and urine samples.
The researchers found that the water was slightly more effective at reducing the spread than a sample that had had just one case.
In another experiment, the volunteers were given water with a mixture of viruses, bacteria and parasites that were both safe and potentially harmful.
As in the first study, the researchers found a small reduction in the spread in the water with no significant change in the volunteers’ level of drinking water consumption.
But they did find a small drop in the effectiveness of the water for preventing the spread from hepatitis B. And while the researchers couldn’t say for sure why this occurred, they did note that it was likely linked to some other factors, including the fact that the virus in the drinking-water solution may be able to escape the filters and contaminate other water sources.
“If it was the result of a different mechanism that was not in place, then we could be talking about a whole different set of things,” said lead researcher Dr. David M. Shaffer, of the Centre for Communicable Disease Control at the university’s Centre for Epidemiology and Public Health.
“The fact that we saw this very small drop is consistent with the fact it’s probably not the virus, but the water,” Dr Shaffer said.
Hepatitis A and C are among the major viruses that cause the most deaths from coronavirus.
The current global rate of infection has dropped from a peak of 20.5 million in 2014 to under 10 million today.
The CDC says that, since the virus was first identified in humans in 1947, it has been detected in over 6 million people, and the majority have died.
The virus can be transmitted through the air, drinking water and other sources.
Dr Shaffer and colleagues said that they were still trying to figure out how this could have happened.
It’s possible that the immune system of some of the volunteers had been weakened by exposure to the virus before the water exposure, and that the lack of protective measures for the water they drank may have weakened it as well.
But, Dr Shaser said, the study was still “pretty compelling” evidence that the health effects of drinking the water were minor, and in some cases, insignificant.
“The water did appear to be very effective at controlling infection,” Dr Muffet said.
“There is still a lot more work to do in terms of our understanding of how and why this is happening and the mechanisms that are involved.”
Source New Scientist