Brain-eating amoeba reported in Israel

Doctors in central Israeli hospital diagnose patient with extremely rare brain-eating amoeba – the first time the amoeba has ever been discovered in a living patient in Israel.

By World Israel News Staff

Doctors at Israel’s Beilinson Hospital declared a man dead Sunday, after he was diagnosed with Naegleria Fowleri, also known as the brain-eating amoeba that can cause a serious central nervous system infection.

This is the second case to ever be reported in Israel and prior to his death, marked the first time it has been discovered in a living patient.

Last Tuesday, a 26-year-old male patient was admitted to HaSharon Hospital with symptoms of fever, headache and vomiting.

The patient was admitted while fully conscious. His condition rapidly deteriorated, presenting neurological symptoms and following a series of comprehensive tests, a rare diagnosis was made.

On Wednesday evening, he was transferred to the intensive care unit within the neurological department at Beilinson Hospital.

While conducting tests, physicians learned from the patient and his family that he had traveled within the country and had been near natural water sources.

The Naegleria Fowleri amoeba thrives in warm waters ranging from 35 degrees Celsius to 42 degrees Celsius and while in most cases, nothing will happen to those who swim in waters where the amoeba is present, in rare cases, one can become 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 Senior Physician in the Neurological Intensive Care Unit 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.”

On Sunday, however, Beilinson Hospital announced that the patient had died as a result of the infection.

The first case of Naegleria Fowleri in Israel was in August 2022 at Poriya Hospital but it was unfortunately discovered postmortem. This very rare amoeba is only diagnosed in 10 cases per year in the United States.