Test results from the Waco-area water park visited by a New Jersey man who later died from a brain-eating amoeba showed that his “exposure likely occurred” there.
The results, released Friday, said the amoeba was found in the water of one of the Barefoot Ski Ranch’s four attractions, known as the BSR Cable Park, but conditions in the other features were described as “favorable” for the amoeba’s growth.
Local health officials said it remains possible that the amoeba could also have been present in the surf portion of the park on Sept. 8, when Fabrizio Stabile visited. He died on Sept. 21, and officials collected test samples on Sept. 27. The park remained open that day, but every part except the cable park is now closed.
Officials do not believe it is reasonable that Stabile contracted the amoeba anywhere else. Asked by the Houston Chronicle whether they believe Stabile got ill because of his visit there, the company said: “No one can say for sure.”
BSR, located near Waco, is one of two Texas surf parks in Texas. The other, in Austin, is strictly regulated under state law. BSR was not inspected by local health officials, who did not elaborate on why. Test results show “a treatment failure” in the BSR water, according to the report.
Specifically, the report states that water tested was cloudy, contained organisms associated with fecal matter and lacked enough chlorine to disinfect the water — providing for an environment in which, when the water was warm, the the brain-eating amoeba could grow. There were also other kinds of amoeba present.
In a statement posted on the BSR Cable Park Facebook page on Friday, the company wrote: “BSR SURF RESORT, Lazy River & Royal Flush slide WATER TESTS COME BACK CLEAN.” It did not mention that the amoeba was found in the cable park.
The CDC, along with the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District, conducted the tests for the amoeba, called Naegleria fowleri. Both agencies plan to continue to consult with the company before it reopens the surf pool, lazy river or Royal Flush, which is a series of giant slides.
Though the cable park is where the brain-eating amoeba was found, the report said it would be allowed to stay open because the risk there was considered no worse than other fresh water. The BSR water source is well water
The amoeba is commonly found in fresh water sources such as lakes, but hardly ever causes infection. When people do contract the amoeba, they are almost certain to die.
In its statement, the company said it planned to hire an out-of-state business “to install a state-of-the-art filtration system to make our water in the surf, on the lazy river, and at the Royal Flush slide is[sic] as clear and clean as humanly possible.”
Continued the statement: “There are only a few of these man-made surf parks in the country today, but many more will be built. Our goal is to set the highest standard for these facilities. Going forward, BSR Surf Resort will have the cleanest water anywhere in the United States.”
Read the full report below.