The practice of water treatment soon became mainstream and common, and the virtues of the system were made starkly apparent after the investigations of the physician John Snow during the 1854 Broad Street cholera outbreak. Snow was sceptical of the then-dominant miasma theory that stated that diseases were caused by noxious "bad airs". Although the germ theory of disease had not yet been developed, Snow's observations led him to discount the prevailing theory. His 1855 essay On the Mode of Communication of Cholera conclusively demonstrated the role of the water supply in spreading the cholera epidemic in Soho, with the use of a dot distribution map and statistical proof to illustrate the connection between the quality of the water source and cholera cases. His data convinced the local council to disable the water pump, which promptly ended the outbreak.
Photo by F. TronchinDepending on the geographic location of the wilderness area you are visiting and the time of year, temperatures can vary dramatically over the course of 24 hours. Layer your clothing to stay warm and keep your pack light. Pack silk long johns, t-shirts, trekking pants that convert to shorts, underwear, socks, and nightclothes. A fleece jacket, windbreaker, and waterproof outer jacket should be enough to handle most conditions. Wear a good pair of hiking boots, but pack a pair of sandals and water shoes. Round out your wardrobe with gloves, hat, and a scarf.
The first part of the purification tag team must eliminate microorganisms, like harmful bacteria and parasites. There are a handful of tried and true methods for doing this. The most familiar is boiling. Simply bringing water up to its boiling point of 212 degrees Fahrenheit will kill almost all microorganisms, so just a few minutes of boiling will do the job.