A 29-year-old surfer from New Jersey passed away because of a brain-eating amoeba after taking a dip into a wave pool in Texas.
Fabrizio Stabile tested positive for Naegleria fowleri, a rare but deadly amoeba that typically thrives in fresh warm water. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC ) is currently testing the water at the BSR Cable Park's Surf Resort in Waco, Central Texas for the brain-eating amoeba.
The surfer started experiencing symptoms when he returned to his home in Atlantic County. While mowing the lawn on Sunday, Sept. 16, Stabile experienced a severe headache. Thinking that it was a normal headache, he took a medicine and slept through the night.
However, by Monday morning, the headache has not gone away. On the same day, he could not get out of bed.
His mother phoned 911 and he was brought to the hospital. Doctors initially thought that he has bacterial meningitis because of his symptoms (brain swelling and fever), but he was not responding to treatment. So, he was tested for several other illnesses until he was diagnosed with Naegleria fowleri.
By the time he was tested positive with the amoeba, it was too late for the only available medication, which was only used in three known survivors in North America, to be administered. Stabile died on Sept. 21 at the Atlantic City Medical Center.
According to the CDC, Naegleria fowleri can cause a rare infection of the brain called primary amoebic meningoencephalitis. It can be found in warm freshwaters such as lakes, rivers, and hot springs, but sometimes, it also exists in heavily chlorinated public pools or heated tap water.
A person can be contaminated with the amoeba while swimming or diving. Infection happens when the Naegleria fowleri enters the nose and travel to the brain where it causes primary amoebic meningoencephalitis.
From 2008 to 2017, only 34 infections have been reported in the United States.
Brain-Eating Amoeba From Texas Resort
The CDC will continue to investigate the surf resort in Waco. One other person who visited the water park has also reportedly been infected by the amoeba.
"The CDC collected water samples and are currently investigating to find the source. We hope to have results by the end of the week," stated spokesperson for Waco-McLennan County Public Health District, Kelly Craine.
The resort remained closed on Sunday, Sept. 30, as public health officials continue to look for the source of the amoeba. However, Stuart E. Parsons Jr., the owner of the surf resort, said that they will continue to comply with the investigations.
A GoFundMe Campaign was started on behalf of Stabile to bring awareness to Naegleria fowleri. It hopes to collect $50,000.