When I recently saw headlines from various Australian and US media of a man named Sam Ballard who died years after eating a slug on a dare, the story sounded somewhat familiar. I dug around the archives and found that in 2010, I wrote an article about Sam’s case on the now defunct, examiner.com.
I did, however, publish a shortened, informational version of the story on a website called Ezine Articles, which started–A 21 year old man from Sydney, Australia is in critical condition as we speak as a result of a foolish dare.
Soon after the dare, Sam began to show symptoms and was later diagnosed with rat lungworm disease, caused by the parasitic roundworm, Angiostrongylus cantonensis, which can cause a severe condition called eosinophilic meningitis. He soon was in a coma that lasted more than a year.
Sam died recently at the age of 29. Rest in peace Sam.
To learn more about rat lungworm, listen to my interview with the CDCs Dr Eugene Liu–Rat lungworm in the US: An interview with Dr Eugene Liu
- Rat lungworm found in 5 Florida counties
- Rat lungworm: Half of cases in CONUS locally transmitted
- Hawaii confirms 1st rat lungworm case on Oahu in 2018
- Rat lungworm: High percentage of rats test positive in Hawaii