Sand-fly fever viruses (SFVs) are arthropod transmitted viruses that belong to the Phlebovirus genus of the Bunyaviridae family. SFVs, maintained and transmitted by various Phlebotomines, are divided into two serogroups, the Sand-fly Sicilian viruses (SFSV) and the Sandfly Naples viruses (SFNV). Most of the SFVs cause acute influenza-like illness (“Pappataci fever”, “3 days fever”). Some SFVs, most notably the Toscana virus (TOSV), belonging to the SFNV serogroup, are also associated with neuro-invasive illness, including aseptic meningitis and meningoencephalitis.
SFVs infections and the neuro-invasive diseases associated with them are common in some Mediterranean countries, mainly Italy. These agents are rarely suspected nor diagnosed in cases of meningitis or meningoencephalitis of unknown etiology in Israel, and the first series from Israel were described only recently. We report on two cases of severe meningoencephalitis caused by SFVs, acquired in the coastal area of central Israel.