Man Dies from Brain-Eating Amoeba Days After Visiting Public Pool


You know, a catch phrase can do its job too well. Make it overly memorable, and suddenly people recall the words themselves but not what they referred to.

For instance, the line “just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water” was used to promote the movie “Jaws 2.” Today, though, those words pop up whenever anyone wants to talk about aquatic trouble.

Floating garbage, Florida’s dreaded Red Tide, unfortunate drownings — it could refer to any of them. And you know what? That catch phrase could apply to the sad case of a 29-year-old outdoorsman who fought a very tiny foe.

According to the Press of Atlantic City, Fabrizio Stabile loved nothing more than hanging out with friends and family in nature. A fan of both snowboarding and surfing, he visited BSR Cable Park’s Surf Resort for a little rest and recreation.

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The resort boasts a giant wave pool that produces easily surfable wave after wave. But the Associated Press reported that it had something else as well.

When Stabile returned home from his surfing vacation, he soon came down with a terrible headache — a headache that quickly grew worse. A day after Stabile’s head began to pound, his mother stopped by to check on him.

What she found rocked her to her core. Her son couldn’t move or speak in a coherent manner.

Stabile ended up in the hospital, but despite running test after test, doctors couldn’t discover what was wrong with him. According to INSIDER, they initially believed he had meningitis.

By the time they discovered what was actually going on, it was too late for the young man. He died the day after receiving a diagnosis of Naegleria fowleri.

Commonly called the brain-eating amoeba, Naegleria fowleri actually leads to an infection called primary amoebic meningoencephalitis. It’s similar to meningitis, but much, much more fatal.

How fatal? Well, 143 individuals in the United States are on record as having contracted it. Out of that number, only five have survived.

Three of those who fought off the illness did so thanks to a rare drug. Unfortunately, the physicians couldn’t get it to Stabile in time.

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Stephanie Papastephanou, who helmed a GoFundMe campaign on behalf of Stabile and his family wrote, “By the time Fabrizio was diagnosed, it was too late to administer the drug that had previously been provided to three of the only five known survivors in North America. Even so, this drug is not easily accessible.

“We were hopeful until the end, but unfortunately, on Friday September 21st we learned the heart-breaking news that Fabrizio was pronounced brain dead as a result of this brain-eating amoeba.” In the wake of Stabile’s death, BSR Cable Park’s Surf Resort has closed and is awaiting the results of a CDC investigation.

As of press time, the GoFundMe campaign has raised $25,280. The funds will go to educating “as many people as possible about this rare and preventable infection.”

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A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine.
A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine. Most days find him crafting copy for corporate and small-business clients, but he also occasionally indulges in creative writing. His short fiction has appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines. Loren currently lives in south Florida with his wife and three children.
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