A family was left stunned and grief-stricken after the sudden death of their son. Now they’re mobilizing to spread awareness and warn others about what killed Fabrizio Stabile.
According to a GoFundMe page set up in Fabrizio’s memory, the 29-year-old New Jersey man was mowing his lawn on September 16, 2018, when he was struck with a debilitatingly painful headache. The sudden, sharp pain forced him to stop mowing and go lie down. But when he awoke the next day, the pain hadn’t subsided.
Fabrizio took more medicine and returned to sleep, but when his mom checked on him later, he could not rouse himself and was unable to speak coherently.
She called 911, and he was rushed to the hospital.
At first, doctors thought Fabrizio was suffering from bacterial meningitis. But when treated for this condition, he didn’t respond. Eventually, after a multitude of tests, the medical team realized that Fabrizio was suffering from a rare, fatal infection when his cerebrospinal fluid tested positive for Naegleria fowleri, a brain-eating amoeba. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, patients become infected when contaminated water enters through the nose — you can’t be infected by swallowing Naegleria-contaminated water.
Tragically, it was too late to help Fabrizio, and he died on September 21. CNN reports that health officials are currently investigating BSR Cable Park, the Waco, Texas, surf resort Fabrizio visited earlier in September before developing symptoms.
“There have been no reports of other illnesses, and Naegleria fowleri infection does not spread from person to person,” Brittany Behm, a CDC spokesperson, wrote in an email to CNN. “CDC is testing water samples for Naegleria fowleri and will be working with the local and state health departments on recommendations to provide the facility on how to reduce potential exposures.”
BSR Cable Park is cooperating with the investigation.
Fabrizio’s family and friends started the Fabrizio Stabile Foundation for Naegleria Fowleri Awareness to educate people regarding this devastating, rare, but preventable infection. They intend to have annual fundraisers in his memory to ensure that this doesn’t happen to another family.
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