Ministry of Health

Did Methuselah, the grandfather of Noah who – according to Genesis – lived for 969 years, contract prostate cancer before meeting his Maker? If human health in biblical times was similar to that today, he probably did, because the main factor behind malignancy of the prostate, is aging. Thus, men who live long lives are unlikely to escape some problem with the prostate, such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (non-cancerous enlargement of the gland that makes urination difficult) if not actual cancer.

It certainly hasn’t reached the dimensions of the Ten Biblical Plagues, but leishmaniasis – dubbed “Rose of Jericho” because of the red rash it can cause – is a potentially disfiguring but not life-threatening skin disease. It is endemic to the Middle East, Latin America, southern Europe and other hot regions and is spreading, causing concern to Israeli parasitologists and dermatologists.