CDC Health Advisory – Advice to Clinicians about Leptospirosis in U.S. Travelers Returning from Northern Israel

PUBLISHED: Sep 7, 2018
Relevant to: Ambulatory Care, Critical Access Hospitals, Hospitals, Medical Office

The Israeli Ministry of Health is reporting an outbreak of leptospirosis in persons with exposure to natural water sources in the Golan Heights region of northern Israel after July 1, 2018. As of September 6, 2018, three persons with leptospirosis who traveled to Israel have been identified in the United States, with additional suspected cases reported and under investigation.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is providing health care providers with the following guidance:

  • Clinicians should evaluate patients for leptospirosis who have onset of an acute febrile illness within 4 weeks of travel to the Golan Heights region in northern Israel, especially with exposure to one of the seven natural water recreational sites listed above. If clinicians suspect leptospirosis in a patient, they should initiate treatment with antibiotics (e.g., doxycycline or penicillin) prior to receiving results of diagnostic tests, as earlier treatment is associated with a decrease in duration and severity of disease.
  • There are two commercially available tests include Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and Screening (non-confirmatory) IgM-based serologic assays (ELISA, ImmunoDot). See the CDC’s Health Advisory for details about these tests and specimen submission instructions.

Leptospirosis is a nationally notifiable disease. Clinicians should report leptospirosis cases to their local/state health department according to their state’s disease reporting requirements.

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