Health

Texas surf resort tested after surfer dies from "brain-eating amoeba"

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WACO, Texas — 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 surfer from New Jersey, died on September 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. Symptoms generally start about five days after infection, with death occurring about five days later, according to the CDC. 

It wasn’t immediately clear when Stabile visited the BSR Cable Park’s Surf Resort in Waco, but the facility voluntarily closed Friday. 

“The CDC collected water samples and are currently investigating to find the source,” Waco-McLennan County Public Health District spokesman Kelly Craine said, CBS affiliate KBTX-TV reported. “We hope to have results by the end of the week.”

Craine said 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.

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.

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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