Fabrizio Stabile, 29, visited the BSR Cable Park in Waco, Texas, where it's suspected he contracted the rare amoeba Naegleria fowleri, an infection so rare it's only been diagnosed 143 times in the United States since 1962.
Stabile noticed something was wrong September 16 while mowing the lawn when a painful headache forced him to lie down. Stabile, of Ventnor, died September 21 at the Atlantic City Medical Center, according to his obituary in the Press of Atlantic City, after falling ill with Naegleria fowleri.
Stabile's family has issued an obituary, which described him as someone who loves snowboarding, surfing and fishing.
"In very rare instances, Naegleria infections may also occur when contaminated water from other sources (such as inadequately chlorinated swimming pool water or heated and contaminated tap water) enters the nose", the CDC says. They ask that people make donations to Swim Above Water Amoeba Awareness Foundation, an organization aimed at raising awareness of Naegleria fowleri, in lieu of flowers.
Park owner Stuart E. Parsons Jr. offered his honest condolences to Stabile's family and says the park will continue to comply with the ongoing investigation. Those who contract PAM usually die within one to 18 days of showcasing the disease symptoms.
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Between 2008 and 2017, 34 fatal infections were reported across the country, according to USA Today. The federal agency says only four of the 143 people known to have been infected in the US between 1962 and 2017 have survived.
It can be found in freshwater in warmer climates, from hot springs to rivers and lakes.
He died five days later and tested positive for Naegleria fowleri the day before his death, his family said. It can cause a rare and devastating infection of the brain called primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM).
She said the CDC would work with the local health department on recommendations for how the park can reduce potential exposures, the Tribune reported.