BSR Surf Resort voluntarily closes after brain-eating amoeba kills surfer
- 01 October 2018 | Surfing
Fabrizio Stabile, a 29-year-old surfer from New Jersey, died from Naegleria fowleri a few days after visiting the BSR Surf Resort, in Waco, Texas.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is currently investigating the source of the “brain-eating amoeba” that killed the surfer.
Meanwhile, the BSR Surf Resort voluntarily closed its doors until the results of the analysis determine whether the surfer was infected, or not, in the artificial wave pool.
CDC has already collected water samples and hopes to deliver conclusions by the end of the week.
Stabile was an avid fisherman and worked for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and Bass Pro Shops. But he also enjoyed surfing and snowboarding.
A Rare and Deadly Infection
Naegleria fowleri is a rare and deadly free-living microscopic ameba that is commonly found in warm freshwater lakes and rivers, and soil.
But the “brain-eating amoeba” infections can also occur in inadequately chlorinated swimming pools or heated and contaminated tap water, hot springs, geothermal drinking water, and water heaters.
The contaminated water enters swimmers and divers’ bodies through the nose, and then travels to the brain where it causes primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM).
In other words, the infection destroys brain tissue causing brain swelling and death.
However, people will not be infected by Naegleria fowleri by drinking contaminated water. Also, the bacteria-eating amoeba is not found in salt water.
It grows best at higher temperatures up to 115°F (46°C) and can survive for short periods at higher temperatures. The infection cannot be spread from one person to another.
The initial symptoms may include headaches, fever, nausea, or vomiting and will start between one and nine days after the infection. The disease progresses rapidly, and it can kill a human being in five days.
There is still no effective treatment for patients infected with this “brain-eating amoeba.” Nevertheless, a new drug called miltefosine – combined with other medications – successfully treated two patients.
Between 1962 and 2017, there have been 143 known infected individuals reported in the United States – 139 have died, and four have survived.
BSR Surf Resort is a man-made surf pool powered by American Wave Machines. It is one of the three wave pool systems using freshwater alongside Wavegarden and Surf Ranch.