Israeli health officials are reporting 27 leptospirosis cases up to now, about half of them had been hospitalized.
Hundreds more who visited the streams are expected to be examined, the ministry said.
The bacterial infection has been linked to swimming in streams in the southern Golan Heights.
Health officials advise the public if their body temperature exceeds 38 degrees Celsius, and if you recently swam (after 1.7.2018) in the following streams: Zaki, Yehudiya, Meshushim and Zavitan, and became sick less than 3 weeks ago, then you are requested to contact your family doctor.
The Ministry of Health advises against bathing in the streams Zaki, Yehudiya, Meshushim and Zavitan, until further notice.
Leptospirosis is caused by a corkscrew-shaped bacterium called Leptospira interrogans, is often referred to as “rat fever” due to the principal role rats play in spreading the disease (scientists refer this type of animal as a reservoir host). Other animals can also be important reservoirs of the disease.
These animals can spread the disease in their urine, contaminating water, soil, or food. People who live in close contact with domestic animals or wildlife are at higher risk for getting the disease.
People become infected by coming into contact with contaminated urine, water, food, or soil through breaks in the skin, eyes, mouth, or nose. Outbreaks of leptospirosis are usually caused by exposure to contaminated water, such as floodwaters. Person to person transmission is rare.
Infected individuals initially experience fever, severe headache and muscle aches, abdominal pain, and occasionally a skin rash. Patients in the later stages of disease can suffer from jaundice, kidney failure, bleeding from the mouth or nose, bloody urine and can be fatal, especially without proper treatment.