Brain-eating amoeba diagnosed in Israel in second ever case

An Israeli man being treated for Naegleria fowleri is in “a critical but stable” condition


An Israeli man is being treated for brain-eating amoeba Naegleria fowleri (Photo: Getty Images)

A 26-year old Israeli man is being treated for a brain-eating amoeba in the second ever case in the country’s history.

The patient was admitted to hospital on Tuesday with a fever, headache, and vomiting. His condition deteriorated rapidly, and the rare diagnosis was made following a series of comprehensive tests.

The amoeba – Naeglera fowleri – thrives in warm water, and swimmers are most likely to fall victim as the amoeba enters the brain through the nasal cavity. Once inhaled, the amoeba travels up to the brain, where it digests red blood cells and neurons.

The last time Naeglera fowleri was diagnosed in Israel, the patient had already died, and the key to successful treatment is to act fast. The amoeba is treated with antifungals, which the patient in Israel is currently receiving.

A fast diagnosis by Dr Tamar Gutsman, head of the infectious disease unit at the Rabin Medical Centre in Petah Tikvah, meant the latest patient survived, but his situation is still life-threatening.

“Our team is working around the clock to save this young patient’s life,” said Dr Ayana Dvir. “His condition is critical but stable.”

Dr Gutsman said: “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.”

The first case of Naegleria fowleri in Israel was discovered in August 2022 at the Poriya Medical Centre near Tiberias. It was diagnosed in a patient who had already died, .

There are only around 380 cases of the amoeba diagnosed annually worldwide.

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive