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Texas surf resort tested after ‘brain-eating amoeba’ death

October 1, 2018

In this Saturday, July 14, photo-A surfer takes a spill while battling the waves at the BSR Surf resort near Waco, Texas. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is testing at BSR Cable Park's Surf Resort for Naegleria fowleri, which is commonly referred to as a "brain-eating amoeba," officials said. (Rod Aydelotte/Waco Tribune Herald, via AP)

WACO, Texas (AP) — Test results are expected later this week after a man who visited a landlocked surf resort in Central Texas died from a rare “brain-eating amoeba,” local health officials said Monday.

Fabrizio Stabile, a 29-year-old from New Jersey, died on Sept. 21 after falling ill with Naegleria fowleri, a rare but deadly amoeba that can cause a brain infection. People are usually infected when contaminated water enters the body through the nose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It wasn’t immediately clear when Stabile visited the BSR Cable Park’s Surf Resort in Waco, but the facility voluntarily closed Friday. Symptoms generally start about five days after infection, with death occurring about five days later, according to the CDC.

Waco-McLennan County Public Health District spokesman Kelly Craine told The Associated Press on Monday that a team from the CDC conducted a range of testing at the facility.

“They got samples, but they also looked at how the park actually operates: where the water’s coming from, how the water’s filtered, how the water’s treated,” Craine said.

She said she didn’t know when Stabile was at the park.

The CDC reports the amoeba is usually found in warm freshwater, such as lakes, rivers or hot springs. The federal agency says only four of the 143 people known to have been infected in the U.S. between 1962 and 2017 have survived.

CDC spokeswoman Brittany Behm said the agency knows of no other patients linked to the Texas facility who have symptoms of the infection, which can start out with a headache, fever and nausea, and worsen into a stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and seizures.

BSR Cable Park owner Stuart E. Parsons Jr. told the Waco Tribune-Herald that Stabile had been in the park’s wave pool. He said the facility was cooperating with health officials. He also said he and his workers’ “hearts and prayers” are with family and friends of Stabile and the New Jersey surf community.

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