A surfer from Atlantic County in New Jersey has died from brain-eating amoeba after swimming in a wave pool at BSR Cable Park in Waco, Texas, NJ.com reports.
Friends and family now mourn the death of Fabrizio Stabile, who died just a day after he was diagnosed with Naegleria Fowleri, colloquially known as the “brain-eating amoeba.”
According to the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Naegleria Fowleri is a rare infection that occurs when amoeba from contaminated water enter the nose and travel to the brain, where it destroys the brain tissue.
The infection — which has a fatality rate of 97 percent — commonly occurs when people go swimming or diving in warm freshwater places.
According to the GoFundMe page set up by Stabile’s loved ones, the 29-year-old dipped in the waters of the wave pool at a surf resort in Waco. Days later, after returning to his home in New Jersey, he experienced a severe headache while mowing his lawn on Sunday, Sept. 16.
He took medicine for the headache and slept through the night — but the headache persisted when he woke up the next day. By early afternoon that day, Stabile’s condition had gotten worse. He could no longer get out of bed nor speak intelligibly, which prompted his mother to call 911.
Stabile showed symptoms such as fever and brain swelling that appeared consistent with bacterial meningitis. Doctors treated him, but he did respond to said treatments. His condition also continued to deteriorate.
Stabile was tested for a range of illnesses caused by viruses and bacteria. On Thursday, one of the tests revealed that he had tested positive for Naegleria Fowleri.
Unfortunately, by this time, it was already too late to administer to him the drug that had saved three survivors of the infection. The drug, however, is still no guarantee of survival.
According to CDC, only four of the 143 known cases in the United States — from 1962 to 2017 — managed to survive their encounter with the brain eating amoeba.
On Friday, just a day after his diagnosis, Stabile was pronounced dead.
Stabile’s friends and family have now started a foundation with the hope that it can help prevent more deaths caused by the brain-eating amoeba.
“We created The Fabrizio Stabile Foundation for Naegleria Fowleri Awareness to bring awareness to, and educate as many people as possible about, this rare and preventable infection,” the GoFundMe page reads. “We aim to do this through an annual fundraiser in Fabrizio’s memory in hopes that this will not affect another family. Please help us in keeping Fabrizio’s memory alive.
The swim and surf resort that Stabile visited before falling ill closed voluntarily on Friday, pending tests results for Naegleria Fowleri.