Travel-related leptospirosis in Israel: A nationwide study

Eyal Leshem, Gadi Segal, Ada Barnea, Shmuel Yitzhaki, Iris Ostfeld, Silvio Pitlik, Eli Schwart*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Leptospirosis is re-emerging in developed countries as a travel-related infection. In this nationwide study of travel-related leptospirosis in Israel, all cases diagnosed at the Central Reference Laboratory for Leptospirosis, during 2002-2008 were retrospectively reviewed and only travel-related cases were included. During the study years, 20 (42%) of 48 leptospirosis cases in Israel were travel-related. Exposure occurred in Southeast Asia in 15 (75%) of 20 cases. The estimated yearly incidence of travel-related leptospirosis was 1.78/100,000 travelers compared with an incidence of endemic cases of 0.06/100,000 inhabitants (risk ratio = 29.6, 95% confidence interval = 16.7-52.4). Most patients (89%) were infected during water-related activities. Severe disease was present in 10 (55%) of 18 patients; 7 of them were presumptively infected with the Icterohaemorrhagiae serogroup. Thus, travel-related leptospirosis is becoming increasingly important in the epidemiology of leptospirosis in Israel. Leptospirosis should be suspected in any traveler with undifferentiated febrile illness, especially when water exposure is reported.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)459-463
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2010
Externally publishedYes


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