Outbreak of human leptospirosis linked to contaminated water bodies in Northern Israel, June to August 2018

Euro Surveill. 2018 Sep;23(38):1800486. doi: 10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2018.23.38.1800486.


We report preliminary findings of a large outbreak of human leptospirosis with 36 confirmed/probable and 583 suspected cases from June-August 2018, linked to contaminated water bodies in Northern Israel. There was a travel-associated case in Germany; additional cases are being investigated in other countries. The presumed chain of transmission, implicating wild boar and cattle, raises multiple challenges for risk assessment, risk management and risk communication currently being addressed by a public health response team.

Keywords: climate change; contamination; leptospirosis; outbreak investigation; travel; waterborne.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Disease Outbreaks*
  • Epidemics
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Israel / epidemiology
  • Leptospira / classification*
  • Leptospirosis / diagnosis
  • Leptospirosis / epidemiology*
  • Leptospirosis / transmission
  • Public Health
  • Risk Management
  • Swine
  • Travel
  • Water Microbiology
  • Water Pollution / adverse effects*