Rare amoeba
Rare amoebaiStock

Israel's Health Ministry has reported that a man has died due to encephalitis from a rare amoeba, naegleria fowleri.

The Ministry added that the man, age 36, is a resident of northern Israel and did not suffer any pre-existing conditions. He recently died from encephalitis caused by the rare amoeba.

The rare case was diagnosed thanks to the alacrity of an infectious disease specialist, who suspected the diagnosis and involved the district Health Ministry office and the Health Ministry's central lab.

In light of how rare such cases are, the clinical sample needed to be sent to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Around the world, only about 400 such cases have been reported: The illness is extremely rare, but its mortality rate is high. The amoeba responsible for this encephalitis is found in sweet waters, puddles, and other standing sources of water of various types.

The investigation regarding possible exposures is ongoing, and the Health Ministry is working with the Environmental Protection Ministry and the Agriculture Ministry, and will update the public on its findings.