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349 Maasai children younger than 6 years old were randomised by
alternate household to drink water either left in plastic bottles
exposed to sunlight on the roof of the house or kept indoors (control).
The trial was run in Maasai by Maasai community elders. Children
drinking solar disinfected water had a significantly lower risk of
severe diarrhoeal disease over 8705 two weekly follow up visits; two
week period prevalence was 48.8% compared with 58.1% in controls,
corresponding to an attributable fraction of 16.0%. While this
reduction is modest, it was sustained over a year in free living
children. It confirms solar disinfection as effective in vivo as a
free, low technology, point of consumption method of improving water
quality. The continuing use of solar disinfection by the community
underlines the value of community participation in research.