In an interview with Reshet Bet at Kan (the Israeli Broadcasting Authority) on Sunday afternoon – after the ministry convened for an emergency session on the recent outbreak of the disease – Bar Siman Tov calmed the public that if proper precautions are taken, Leptospirosis is nothing to worry about.
He immediately clarified that the four people in intensive care due to the Leptospirosis outbreak are not in any life-threatening danger. “It is very easy to incite panic and create [the feel of] an emergency situation,” Bar Siman Tov said, “but the most important thing for us to tell the public is: travel, but follow our instructions.”
The bodies of water that the ministry strongly recommends avoiding are: Zavitan River, Yehudiya River, Zaki River, the Yarden Park and Gilbon River.
All other bodies of water in Israel, according to Bar Siman Tov, are safe.
He went on to explain that the causes of the infection are herds of cattle and wild pigs who use the water and infect it, transferring the disease to humans who come into contact with the water.
To stop the contamination of these waters, the ministry intends to prevent these animals from having access to publicly-accessible water sources and instead provide them with alternative ones.
It is important to know, Bar Siman Tov mentioned, that “Leptospirosis is not contagious.” The only way someone could become sick with the infection is through drinking the water or entry by way of an open wound.
“Even those who do get sick are very easily treated,” he added. “Every simple antibiotic can treat it.”
The director-general added that there are many plans for future treatment of the source of the infection, including vaccination of animal herds, regulation of grazing areas and waste disposal regulation.
When questioned about the mineral-water company Mey Eden, Bar Siman Tov commented that the disease will simply “be treated [by giving them] alternative drilling options for which they will receive permissions later today.”