update deskIsrael News

Israeli treated for brain-eating amoeba in second-ever case

The 26-year-old man remains in critical condition.

Beilinson Hospital in Petach Tikvah. (Courtesy)
Beilinson Hospital in Petach Tikvah. (Courtesy)

An Israeli patient is being treated for Naegleria fowleri, an extremely rare brain-eating amoeba. It is the second case ever reported in Israel and the first time it has been discovered in a living patient.

The 26-year-old male was admitted on Tuesday to Hasharon Hospital at Rabin Medical Center in Petach Tikvah with fever, headache and vomiting. His condition rapidly deteriorated and following a series of comprehensive tests, the diagnosis was made.

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). Only in rare cases is a human infected.

“This disease is so rare and it is often only identified post-mortem. The rapid diagnosis by Dr. Tamar Gutsman, head of the infectious disease unit at HaSharon Hospital, and the microbiological laboratory at Beilinson Hospital, allowed us to start treatment quickly with several medications,” said Beilinson Hospital’s Dr. Ayana Dvir.

“Our team is working around the clock to save this young patient’s life. His condition is critical but stable, he is still in life-threatening danger. Given that this is only the second case in Israel and the global cases are not many, the diagnosis is even more remarkable. Currently, we are focused on saving the patient’s life, but there is no doubt that this case will be studied further,” she added.

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

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