NJ man died after contracting ‘brain-eating amoeba’
WACO, Texas — A landlocked surf resort in Central Texas closed on Friday after a South Jersey man who visited died from what is commonly known as a "brain-eating amoeba."
The Waco Tribune-Herald reported the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is testing BSR Cable Park's Surf Resort for Naegleria fowleri, a rare but highly deadly amoeba colloquially known as a "brain-eating amoeba."
BSR Cable Park owner Stuart E. Parsons Jr. said the park will continue to comply with requests related to the investigation of Fabrizio Stabile's death. The 29-year-old Ventnor man died in New Jersey earlier this month after falling ill with Naegleria fowleri. Parsons said Stabile had been in the park's wave pool. Officials are investigating the source.
An obituary in The Press of Atlantic City describes Stabile as an avid outdoorsman who loved fishing, surfing and snowboarding.
A GoFundMe for Stabile's family said he was mowing the lawn on September 16 when he "suddenly experienced a sever headache and went to lie down." Despite taking medicine to help with his headache it had not gone away by the next day. His symptoms progressively got worse until he "could not get out of bed and could not speak coherently," the GoFundMe said.
Originally it was believed that Stabile had bacterial meningitis, but he did not respond to the treatments he was receiving. His diagnosis came a few days later, in what was described as a "devastating blow."
"The worst-case scenario was unfolding in front of our eyes as we learned that this infection results in a 98% fatality rate," the fundraising page said. "By the time Fabrizio was diagnosed, it was too late to administer the drug that had been previously provided to three of the only five known survivors in North America."
On September 21 Stabile was declared brain dead, according to the GoFundMe. Since his death the Fabrizio Stabile Foundation for Naegleria Fowleri Awareness was established. The goal of the foundation is to "bring awareness to, and educate as many people as possible about, this rare and preventable infection."
"Our hearts and prayers are with his family, friends, and the New Jersey surf community during this difficult time," Parsons said. He said the surf resort, which operates an artificial man-made wave, is in compliance with the CDC's "guidelines and recommendations concerning Naegleria fowleri."
The surf resort has closed pending the test results from the CDC, he said. It's unclear if the park remained closed Sunday morning and the CDC did not immediately respond to a call seeking information on whether others who visited could have Naegleria fowleri.
The CDC says people are typically infected when they go diving or swimming in warm freshwater places. Normally, people are infected when contaminated water enters through their nose, according to the agency.
In five days the fundraiser for the foundation had raised more than $21,000 out of a goal of $25,000.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.
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