Men release fish from their net on a Tel Aviv-Jaffa beach.
In preparation for Passover, the Health Ministry on Monday reminded the public to avoid direct contact with raw pond fish out of concern for infection from Vibrio vulnificus bacteria, which can result in death.
The fish that are relevant are mainly tilapia (amnun), mullet (buri) and sea bream (denis).
The bacteria may cause serious infections leading to severe pain, swelling, skin blisters, subcutaneous inflammation and in some cases sepsis. However, due to an increase in public awareness of this issue, there has been a decline in morbidity in recent years, the ministry said.
According to the ministry’s epidemiology department, last year there was one reported case of Vibrio vulnificus
infection, compared to seven in 2012 and 10 in 2013.
The ministry recommends buying fish only from authorized places with business licenses, making sure displayed fish are kept on ice chips, and not buying fish directly from open stalls or at fish ponds or where proper refrigeration conditions are not maintained.
Avoid contact with live or fresh fish, and don’t buy live or chilled whole fish whose fins, scales and gills have not been removed, as they cause pricking that allow the bacteria to enter the body.
Chronic disease patients and/or weakened immune systems or open wounds on the hands should avoid contact with such fish, the ministry concluded.
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