Australian man dies 8 years after eating a slug on a dare

Mr Sam Ballard died on Nov 2, 2018, eight years after he ate a slug that infected him with rat lungworm disease.
Mr Sam Ballard died on Nov 2, 2018, eight years after he ate a slug that infected him with rat lungworm disease.PHOTO: TWITTER/CNN

An Australian man died last Friday (Nov 2), eight years after he ate a slug on a dare which left him paralysed after waking from a 420-day coma.

In 2010, Mr Sam Ballard was drinking wine with his friends when they dared him to eat a slug that was crawling across his patio.

The slug that then 19-year-old Mr Ballard ingested was infected with a parasitic worm found in rodents that can be passed onto slugs, reported CNN.

Days after ingesting the slug, he began feeling sick and had a severe pain in his legs. He told his mother Katie Ballard that he ate a slug and his mother replied: "No, no one gets sick from that."

The worm caused Mr Ballard to develop rat lungworm disease.

According to CNN, humans can be infected with the disease if they eat raw or undercooked contaminated animals or vegetables with infected snails or slugs that have not been thoroughly washed.

Beverages can also be contaminated with worms if left uncovered for snails and slugs to enter.

The disease originates from rats when a parasite lodges in their lungs and is later excreted in their faeces. Animals such as slugs, snails, freshwater crabs, shrimps, prawns or frogs, who either eat the rat dung or get infected by the worm directly, will then carry the parasite.

The Australian health authority's website states the infection is extremely rare and that most people recover fully without treatment. But, occasionally, as in Mr Ballard's case, the infection can be fatal.