A contagious virus targeting the eyes of tilapia fish in Lake Kinneret has lately become more prominent in the country’s Galilee oasis.

The mysterious disease has been affecting the Kinneret fish population in a low concentration for over a decade, but recently the phenomenon has significantly increased – mainly among the tilapia (Amnon/St. Peter’s fish) in the lake – according to the Agriculture Ministry.

While the illness has also been observed among other fish, the presence of the virus is by far most prominent among tilapia.

Veterinary Services and the Department of Fisheries at the Agriculture Ministry have been conducting comprehensive examinations and laboratory tests on the disease for the past few months both in Israel and abroad, looking at the particular details of the virus as well as genetically mapping it, a ministry statement said.

By means of these evaluations, Veterinary Services is currently determining the proper course of action to cope with the disease, the statement added.

Meanwhile, the Agriculture Ministry is continuing to perform tests and take all necessary measures required to protect both the fish population as well as the ecological fabric of Lake Kinneret, according to the statement.

Officials have determined, however, that the virus poses absolutely no peril to public health, to those either eating the fish or swimming with them, the ministry said.

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