Brain-eating amoeba infection kills man who visited Waco surf park

A surfer at BSR Surf Resort in Waco, Texas

WACO, Texas (KWKT) — The man who died from a rare brain infection from an amoeba after visiting a surf park in Waco has been identified.

Fabrizio Stabile from New Jersey visited BSR Cable Park a few weeks ago. He died Sept. 21 after reporting a major headache and going to the hospital.

Kelly Craine, the spokesperson for the McLennan County Health District, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention contacted the district about a patient suffering from a brain infection. The CDC collected water samples and examined the entire water system at the park Wednesday. It expects to have results back next week.

Craine says this is the first case ever in this county of the amoeba Naegleria Fowleriwhich is commonly referred to as a “brain-eating amoeba,” according to the CDC. The last case in Texas happened two years ago. 

BSR Cable Park said it is in compliance with CDC guidelines and recommendations concerning the amoeba. It released this statement:

BSR Surf Resort values the safety of our guests from Texas and all over the United States and we strive to provide the safest environment for our patrons to enjoy all of our facilities. We will continue to comply with requests from the local health department and CDC (Center for Disease Control) investigation of the passing of Fabrizio “Fab” Stabile. Our hearts and prayers are with his family, friends, and the New Jersey surf community during this difficult time.”

The man’s family set up a GoFundMe page to help raise awareness about the deadly infection. 

Normally, the amoeba is found in freshwater lakes, rivers and ponds. The only way someone can get infected by this particular amoeba is by inhaling it, Craine said. 

“To get sick by this it has to go up your nose,” Craine said, where it then accesses the brain through a sinus cavity. “You can drink it and it would not harm you.”

Symptoms of the amoeba are similar to meningitis, Craine said, although it is not contagious. The amoeba can cause a severe headache, fever, nausea and vomiting. Eventually, it can lead to a coma and death. There is no treatment at this time.

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