A young man who has eaten snails as brave eight years ago lost his battle against lungworm mice, a type of parasite. He died last Friday surrounded by family and friends. ( Michel Van Der Vegt | Pixabay )
An Australian man, who ate snails eight years ago as a brave friend, died after lungworm rat disease.
Sam Ballard, a promising rugby player, took his last breath on Friday, November 2, at a hospital in Sydney surrounded by family and friends. He is 28 years old.
Eat A Slug As A Dare
Ballard was only 19 years old when he ate a snail which would eventually cause his death. In 2010, the young man was drinking with his friends in Sydney when they saw a snail crawling on the terrace.
After drinking a snail, Ballard complained of severe pain in his leg. At first, they suspected that the young man had multiple sclerosis like his father, but after being assessed by a doctor, they discovered that he had developed a mouse lung disease.
From there, the situation is getting worse. He developed eosinophilic meningoencephalitis, a form of meningitis, and fell into coma for 420 days. When the doctor brought him back to life, he was paralyzed and needed constant care. Ballard's brain receives serious brain injury.
What is Rat Lungworm Disease?
Lungworm mice, as the name suggests, are caused by a parasite called Angiostronjilus cantonensis which often attacks mice. The parasite enters the lungs of infected mice, but is then excreted through feces.
When other animals, such as snails, are exposed to rat droppings, they are also infected with parasites. Humans can get disease from eating animals that are not cooked.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, lungworm mice are common in Southeast Asia and the tropical Pacific Island. Cases have also been reported in the United States.
To avoid being infected, avoid eating snails, snails, frogs, shrimp, and raw or undercooked shrimp. Public health officials also warn about fresh products. They say they always wash vegetables thoroughly.
Symptoms include headaches, stiff neck, under-skin tingling, fever, nausea, and vomiting. In many cases, the infection does not need to be treated because it disappears on its own.
However, it is best to look at a health care provider if someone suspects exposure to the disease. Blood tests can be done to check for meningitis.
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