Israel’s Health Ministry is warning tourists and locals who go swimming in Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) to wear goggles to protect their eyes.
In recent days the ministry said it received reports from ophthalmologists about three patients suffering from severe inflammation of the cornea and corneal scarring after swimming in the Kinneret.
Two of them were diagnosed by a laboratory with microsporidia, and another case is suspected. Microsporidium is a parasite that can cause eye infections and even vision impairment.
In 2022, 38 cases of corneal lesions typical of microsporidium infection were reported.
The ministry’s investigation revealed that at least some of the patients went swimming on different beaches on the Kinneret.
“Considering the data, the Ministry of Health recommends using goggles when swimming in the Sea of Galilee to avoid direct water contact with the eyes,” the ministry said in a statement.
“Any individual who went swimming in Lake Kinneret and suffers from eye inflammation, redness, pain, or the feeling of a “foreign body” in the eyes, is asked to contact an eye doctor for diagnosis and treatment.”
Nevertheless, the ministry added “it is important to emphasize that there is no risk in drinking Kinneret water. The Ministry of Health is continuing its investigation and will update the public on the findings.”