Surfer, Bass Pro Shops Employee Dies of Brain-Eating Freshwater Amoeba

A 29-year old New Jersey native was killed recently by a brain-eating amoeba thought to have been contracted from a freshwater pool in Texas. Fabrizio “Fab” Stabile passed way on September 21, after being overcome with a powerful headache while mowing his lawn. Stabile had recently returned from BSR Cable Park’s Surf Resort in Waco, Texas.

According to the Stabile family’s GoFundMe page, Fabrizio took medication for his headache, slept through the night, and awoke the next day unable to speak coherently. Brain swelling and fever indicated that something was wrong. What doctors thought to be bacterial meningitis proved to be a rare infection diagnosed just 143 times in the past five decades of U.S. history — Primary Amebic Meningoencephalitis (PAM).

Fabrizio “Fab” Stabile

PAM is caused by Naegleria fowleri, a free living, brain-eating amoeba. According to the Center for Disease Control, Naegleria fowleri is commonly found in warm, freshwater lakes, rivers, hot springs, and soil. It can infect humans when ingested through the nose.

Stabile likely ingested the amoeba on his surfing trip.

An obituary in the Press of Atlantic City noted that Stabile was an avid outdoorsman, having worked for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and Bass Pro Shops.

His family has set up a foundation in his memory, and is seeking to raise $50,000 to bring awareness to and educate outdoor enthusiasts about the amoeba that killed Fabrizio Stabile.

A representative for Bass Pro Shops told FTR they are saddened by the tragedy.