Israeli man dies after contracting very rare ‘brain-eating amoeba’

An Israeli man recently died after contracting a very rare “brain-eating amoeba,” the health ministry said Friday.

The ministry said it was investigating where the 36-year-old resident of northern Israel, who was otherwise healthy, might have come into contact with the organism.

The ministry said specialists had determined that the man likely suffered from primary amoebic meningoencephalitis, an infection of the brain caused by the Naegleria fowleri amoeba. But due to the rarity of the disease, the diagnosis was not confirmed until a sample was sent to the Center for Disease Control in the US.

The amoeba lives in soil and warm fresh water, such as lakes, rivers and hot springs. It’s commonly referred to as the “brain-eating amoeba” because it can cause a brain infection when water with the amoeba passes through the nose, according to the CDC.

While infection is extremely rare, with only about 400 cases worldwide, it is often fatal.

“The Ministry of Health cooperates with the Ministries of Environmental Protection and Agriculture [to find the source] and will keep the public informed of his finds,” the ministry said.

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