FAQ about Leptospirosis in Israel

Jordan River Israel
Yes, there has been an outbreak of leptospirosis in Israel, particularly in those who have been on water hikes and locations with rivers. What does this mean for your child? How will this affect your child? Here are some simple answers which will answer frequently asked questions about this.

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.

Before the announcement of leptospirosis, a few dozen people were infected with the disease. Young people who attended camps and group trips in Israel this summer are home now, maybe just starting to recognize symptoms. If you suspect your child may have been exposed to leptospirosis, and he starts having symptoms between 2-4 weeks after exposure to Golan river water, bring your child to a physician and describe the problem. Without an explanation, a non-Israeli physician may not recognize the condition. With antibiotic treatment, most people fully recuperate.


Stay Informed

When you subscribe to the blog, we will send you an e-mail when there are new updates on the site so you wouldn't miss them.

West Nile Virus Outbreak in Israel
Palliative Care Research

Our Latest Blogs

25 June 2023
Medical Checklist for Gap Year Students It's probably safe to say that the Gap year packing list your child received did not include a medical supplies checklist. There are many reasons to give your kids some medical supplies and medicines before the...
31 October 2021
You have decided to make your Aliyah and currently take prescription medications. How can you continue with your medication regimen in Israel? How can you ensure that your medications are available in Israel and how do you communicate the need for th...
17 October 2021
During the Coronavirus pandemic, many people have been worried about the upcoming Flu season. But to everyone’s surprise, the numbers in the southern hemisphere were the lowest they have been in a long time. “Never in my 40-year career have we ever s...

EMA Care in the News

05 September 2021
Medical Care during the Holidays can be tricky in Israel especially if you do not speak Hebrew. During the holidays, many medical offices and hospitals are operating on Shabbat mode. Shabbat mode means that personnel is cut to minimum staffing, many ...
19 July 2021
Over the years, we've been approached by people who've asked us about different kinds of diets and food plans. Intermittent fasting has become very popular over the last few years. It is a method of dieting that restricts the amount of time you are a...
11 July 2021
 Telemedicine is a great option for caring for geriatric populations in Israel. This is especially true during the Covid-19 pandemic. Over the years, we’ve had many clients who care for their older, dependent parents. Take our clients, the A fam...

What Our Clients Say

Our COVID-19 WhatsApp informational group

Thank you so much for your help. I can't tell you how this Whatsapp group helps all of us. It makes everyone so much more relaxed to have real good information and have somewhere to ask questions, I am so grateful!

Our COVID-19 WhatsApp informational group

I want to express my appreciation for these very informative updates.

Thank you so much


Entry to Israel services

Your team was so attentive to my needs. Everyone was so incredibly quick to respond and were proactive when they were able!


Interview with Dr. Mobeen & Dr. Eliana Aaron

Many thanks for your hour-long session on Dr. Syed's YouTube channel. This is the best Hasbara Israel could wish for!


EMA Care information and Q&A conference

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!! 


EMA Care information and Q&A conference

Thanks so much for your time and attention! It was excellent! Thank you guys so much for organizing.


EMA Care information and Q&A conference

Thank you! Very helpful and comprehensive.


WhatsApp groups

I really appreciate being apart of your WhatsApp groups. It keeps me informed and up to date!


Ema Care WhatsApp groups

I have been following your updates closely and I really appreciate your posts and I know that I am reading accurate information 


Recommended by an Infectious Disease Specialist

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