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Family of Ventnor man who died of brain-eating amoeba sues Texas waterpark

Family of Ventnor man who died of brain-eating amoeba sues Texas waterpark

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Waco Surf Pool

Surfers wait for the right wave to ride at the new BSR Surf Resort in this May file photo. The facility has voluntarily closed pending results of CDC tests for a deadly amoeba.

Ventnor resident Fabrizio Stabile died in September from a brain-eating amoeba 13 days after visiting a surf park near Waco, Texas. Now, his mother is filing a wrongful death suit against the Texas company she says is responsible for his death.

Rita Stabile is seeking more than $1 million in damages from the Texas company, Parsons Barefoot Ski Ranch, after she says her 29-year-old son died from the infection. The infection occurs when contaminated water makes its way into the body.

Fabrizio Stabile, 29, was a 2007 Holy Spirit High School graduate and was living in Ventnor at the time of the incident.

The civil suit, which was filed April 9 in McLennan County District Court, says BSR could have prevented her son’s death “had they exercised ordinary care in the operation of their water park.”

Test results from health officials concluded that there were conditions “favorable” for the amoeba at the BSR Cable Park and Stabile’s exposure to it “likely occurred” there. The suit says the park’s “blue-green dyed waves masked a pathogen soup” where the brain-eating amoeba could thrive.

Park owner Stuart Parsons said operators put chemicals in the water to make it safe and that the amoeba was not found in the surf park water. According to health officials, the amoeba — which rarely infects people — was not found in the water but was found in one of the four attractions at the waterpark.

“Our hearts go out to the family of Fab,” Parsons wrote in an email Tuesday. “Only God knows where he got the ameoba (sic).”

A new water filtration system was installed in the surf park after Stabile’s death and the park is now open for surfers, according to the park’s Facebook page.

Naegleria fowleri, commonly referred to as the “brain-eating amoeba,” can cause a deadly infection called primary amebic meningoencephalitis when contaminated water enters a person’s body through the nose, according to the CDC’s website.

Only four people out of 143 infected in the United States between 1962 and 2017 have survived after contracting the amoeba, according to the CDC.

The amoeba is commonly found in warm freshwater, including lakes, rivers and hot springs, and swallowing contaminated water does not lead to infections, according to the CDC.

Symptoms start to show one to nine days after swimming, and infected people typically die one to 18 days after symptoms start, according to the CDC’s website.

Between 2008 and 2017, 34 infections were reported in the U.S. Of those cases, 30 people were infected by recreational water, three people were infected after performing nasal irrigation using contaminated tap water, and one person was infected by contaminated tap water used on a backyard water toy, according to the CDC’s website.

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