1) What is leptospirosis? Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that can affect people and animals. People can get leptospirosis through exposure to infected animal urine (or soil/water contaminated with infected urine).
2) Where was leptospirosis found? In Israel, leptospirosis was found in several rivers in the Golan heights that include popular hiking trails. This occurred because towards the end of the summer, the rivers have low volume and contaminated soil is more concentrated and more likely to cause the disease to propagate.
3) How do people get leptospirosis in Israel? The bacteria can get into people by drinking from the contaminated water source or through mucous membranes (eyes, nose, mouth). It can also be transmitted through broken skin, such as a scratch. Leptospirosis is NOT usually transmitted from person to person.
4) What are the symptoms of leptospirosis? Unfortunately, many of the symptoms are similar to other conditions. Furthermore, symptoms do not appear until 2-4 weeks AFTER exposure to the bacteria. Early symptoms include fever, headache, muscle pain, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, skin rash, and jaundice. Later symptoms may include kidney failure, liver failure, and meningitis.
5) How is leptospirosis treated? Strong antibiotics are needed to manage leptospirosis, sometimes through an IV. Symptoms management with medication is also important, such as preventing dehydration.
6) How can I prevent my child from getting leptospirosis? Prevention is easy – do not enter rivers in the Golan Heights affected by this outbreak. There is no reported problem with water sources in the Galil/ Galilee, where water comes from different sources.
7) Is the water safe to drink in Israel? YES. Every region in Israel had a water board that regularly monitors and checks water safety. Their testing results are published online every 2 weeks, and hundreds of water access points are testing in Jerusalem alone.
8) What is being done to stop this disease? The water company Mekorot has begun pumping in freshwater to flush out the disease. The Ministry of Agriculture has shut down water hikes in the affected areas, and animals are being treated. When the rainy season comes this fall, it is expected that the problem will resolve naturally through dilution and flushing.
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Thank you for the zoom (and all your updates). It was great. I wish the news was like that. Straight forward, factual, unemotional. Bravo to both of you ladies!!
My experience with Ema Care has been so positive that I wanted to share it in case it could help someone else. Eight days ago my daughter, a Shanah Bet student, called to say she wasn’t feeling well and had symptoms of Covid-19. I was put in touch with an Infectious Disease specialist who recommended Ema Care. I reached Dr. Eliana Aaron easily and signed my daughter up. The next morning, Ema Care gave my daughter a telehealth exam and provided her with prescriptions, as well as a list of...