Author: Angel Reyes  

In The News


According to an article in the Waco Tribune-Herald, BSR Surf Resort voluntarily closed its wave pool on Friday while the Center for Disease Control tested for Naegleria fowleri, an extremely rare and deadly single-celled organism known as the “brain-eating amoeba.” The investigation follows the tragic death of New Jersey surfer Fabrizio “Fab” Stabile, who passed away from an infection caused by the amoeba shortly after surfing BSR’s wave pool.

Under premises liability laws, all property that is open to the public must be safe and reasonably free of hazards. To this degree, every public swimming pool and water park, including BSR surf resort accidents, are required to maintain a residual chlorine level of one-two parts per million to protect their guests from amoebic infection. If they fail in this basic safety obligation, owners and operators could be held liable for the wrongful death of an amoeba victim.

The CDC states that the brain-eating amoeba is found in warm freshwater, such as lakes, rivers and hot springs. In rare cases, the amoeba has been found in inadequately chlorinated swimming pools and even tap water. The amoeba is only contracted through the nose, once it enters the nose it travels to the brain where it causes primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), which is usually fatal. According to the CDC’s website, symptoms usually start one to nine days after swimming, and those infected typically die one to 18 days after the symptoms begin to show.

People infected often experience:

  • Back and neck stiffness, cramping and pain
  • Weakness, severe headaches and seizures
  • Light sensitive eyes, double vision and droopy eyelids
  • Nosebleeds
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Swollen, painful lymph nodes
  • Decreased appetite, nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of smell or problems tasting food
  • Confusion, hallucination and difficulty with concentration

PAM may cause fluid buildup in the brain, severe headaches and coma. Sadly, death usually follows rapidly after the onset of symptoms, typically within weeks.

The CDC reports that there have been 34 reported cases of the “brain-eating amoeba” since 2008, of which only four of those who were infected survived.

CDC spokesperson Candice Burns Hoffmann said that preliminary test results should be ready next week and will provide recommendations to BSR Surf Resort for reducing potential exposures in the future, as reported by the Waco Tribune-Herald.

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