The Health Ministry is investigating the suspected presence of Microsporidia, an intracellular, spore-forming parasitic fungi, in the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) after 29 people were hospitalized with eye problems.

The Ministry has in recent days received reports from ophthalmologists about a growing number of people who had to be hospitalized from severe inflammation of the cornea, corneal scarring and, in the more serious cases, vision impairment.

The 29 patients had corneal lesions that are characteristic of microsporidium infection.

The Health Ministry has launched an epidemiological investigation from which it has emerged so far that at least some of the patients bathed at different beaches of the Kinneret.

In light of the preliminary findings, the Ministry has recommended that bathers wear protective eye gear such as goggles while swimming in the Kinneret and avoid any contact between their eyes and the water to prevent infection.

Any person who bathed in the Kinneret and suffers from eye inflammation, redness, pain, feeling of a "foreign body" in the eyes, is advised to contact an ophthalmologist for diagnosis and treatment.

The Health Ministry emphasized that there is no risk in drinking water from the Kinneret