CDC Testing Waco Wave Pool for 'Brain-Eating Amoeba'

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Above the infamous man-made wave in operation prior to its voluntary closure to be tested by the CDC.

The Waco wave pool in Texas, where notable surfers like Albee Layer and Kalani David of the Dakine team have surfed, is currently under investigation from the Center of Disease Control (CDC) for a brain-eating amoeba. It is unclear if the surf resort’s waters currently host the deadly single-celled organism, however, the death of a New Jersey surfer who visited the pool has prompted further investigation. According to The Waco Tribune Herald, Fabrizio “Fab” Stabile passed away from an infection linked to Naegleria Fowleri, which is an extremely rare and deadly organism that targets the brain. The free-living microscopic ameba infects its victims by swimming through the nose. Once it reaches the brain it causes primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), which is often fatal.

The disease is so rare that the likelihood of contracting it is a one-out-of-a-million-occurrence, however, the rate of survival is much lower. Out of the 143 people that have contracted the disease since 1962, only four have survived according to the CDC website. Those who contract PAM usually die within one to 18 days of showcasing the disease symptoms. The amoeba is most commonly found in areas of warm freshwater like lakes or hot springs. Very rarely has it been discovered in poorly chlorinated swimming pools and contaminated tap water.

The BSR pool has voluntarily closed its facilities so that a small CDC team can collect samples for testing. Results from the investigation are expected to be ready next week. Stabile, at the age of 29, died on Sept 21st from the disease. He was described by his family as a passionate outdoorsman who frequently surfed, snowboarded, and fished. In his memory, his family is asking for donations to the Swim Above Water Amoeba Awareness Foundation which aims to bring awareness to the disease.

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