Published: Thu, October 04, 2018
Medical | By Bryan Strickland

NJ surfer dies from 'brain eating amoeba' after visiting Texas water park

NJ surfer dies from 'brain eating amoeba' after visiting Texas water park

A 29-year-old surfer from New Jersey is dead after contracting a brain eating amoeba while visiting a central Texas resort.

While mowing the lawn on Sunday, Sept. 16, Stabile experienced a severe headache.

Tests of his body showed the presence of Naegleria Fowleri, a brain-eating amoeba contracted by ingesting warm freshwater in bodies of water such as lakes, rivers, and hot springs.

Stabile's family has issued an obituary, which described him as someone who loves snowboarding, surfing and fishing.

Fabrizio Stabile died on Friday, September 21st, after falling ill with Naegleria Fowleri.

A person can not become infected by drinking water contaminated with N. fowleri, the CDC says.

Naegleria fowleri is commonly referred to as the "brain-eating amoeba".

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"Our hearts and prayers are with his family, friends and the New Jersey surf community during this hard time", owner Stuart E. Parsons Jr. told the Waco Tribune. The CDC notes that the disease usually causes death within about five days of the start of symptoms.

Between 2008 and 2017, 34 fatal infections were reported across the country, according to USA Today.

The surf park where Stabile is suspected to have contracted the infection.

Naegleria fowleri infections are not all that common, but with a fatality rate over 97%, Naegleria fowleri survivors are extremely rare. From the nose, it can travel to the brain and cause primary amebic meningoencephalitis, or PAM, the CDC noted.

The surf park voluntarily closed on Friday pending a CDC investigation, reported local media, and is complying with local health departments.

Stabile's family have launched a GoFundMe for the Fabrizio Stabile Foundation for Naegleria Fowleri Awareness, in hopes of educating more people about the infection. Symptoms include headache, fever, nausea, and vomiting, followed by a stiff neck, confusion, lack of attention to people and surroundings, loss of balance, seizures, and hallucinations.

The "heat-loving" amoeba causes PAM, or primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), a rare and almost always fatal disease of the central nervous system, according to the CDC. People can't get it by swallowing water contaminated with the amoeba, the CDC says.

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