A few days before Rosh Hashana, the Health Ministry warns the public not to clean fish that may be infected with Vibrio vulnificus bacteria -- which are potentially fatal when the hands of people with weak immune systems are punctured with fins. The bacteria are found mostly on musht (amnoon), burri, denis and levrak fish.
As fish are commonly featured on New Year's menus, the ministry advises buying fish only from licensed retailers and not from open stands or directly from fish ponds. The fish must be kept at -4 degrees Celsius. Don't buy live fish and insist that they be cleaned by an expert before purchase. People suffering from chronic diseases of the liver or kidneys, of cancer or diabetes should avoid all contact with raw fish.
A Vibrio infection can result in severe pain, skin inflammation, edema and even shock and loss of limbs or death. Last year, there were 25 reported cases of Vibrio infection. There were no deaths, but one victim underwent amputation of her foot above the knee.
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