update deskIsrael News

Israeli dies of brain-eating amoeba in second-ever case

The 26-year-old man is believed to have contracted Naegleria fowleri while swimming in the Sea of Galilee.

This photomicrograph of a brain tissue specimen depicts the cytoarchitectural changes associated with a free-living amebic infection, which may have been caused by either a Naegleria fowleri, or an Acanthamoeba sp. Naegleria fowleri produces an acute, and usually lethal, central nervous system (CNS) disease called primary amebic meingoencephalitis (PAM). Trophozoites infect humans or animals by entering the olfactory neuroepithelium and reaching the brain. N. fowleri trophozoites are found in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and tissue, while flagellated forms are occasionally found in CSF. Image courtesy CDC/Dr. Martin D. Hicklin, 1964. Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images.
This photomicrograph of a brain tissue specimen depicts the cytoarchitectural changes associated with a free-living amebic infection, which may have been caused by either a Naegleria fowleri, or an Acanthamoeba sp. Naegleria fowleri produces an acute, and usually lethal, central nervous system (CNS) disease called primary amebic meingoencephalitis (PAM). Trophozoites infect humans or animals by entering the olfactory neuroepithelium and reaching the brain. N. fowleri trophozoites are found in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and tissue, while flagellated forms are occasionally found in CSF. Image courtesy CDC/Dr. Martin D. Hicklin, 1964. Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images.

An Israeli man has died of Naegleria fowleri, an extremely rare amoeba that causes encephalitis, the country’s Beilinson Hospital announced on Sunday.

The 26-year-old is suspected to have contracted the amoeba while swimming at Gai Beach in Tiberias.

He was admitted on Tuesday to Hasharon Hospital at Rabin Medical Center in Petach Tikvah with fever, headache and vomiting. His condition rapidly deteriorated and he was diagnosed with Naegleria fowleri following a series of comprehensive tests.

On Wednesday evening, he was transferred to the intensive care unit within the neurological department at Beilinson Hospital, which is also part of Rabin Medical Center.

The Naegleria fowleri amoeba thrives in warm waters ranging from 35 to 42 degrees Celsius (95 to 108 degrees Fahrenheit), and infects humans only in rare cases.

This is the second case ever reported in Israel and the first time the amoeba has been discovered in a living patient.

The first case Naegleria fowleri was diagnosed in August 2022 at Poriya Medical Center near Tiberias in a patient who had died. The amoeba is only diagnosed about 10 times per year in the United States.

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