Man dies after eating slug

Desiree Burns
November 9, 2018

The former rugby player had since had limited movement in his limbs, needed help going to the bathroom and eating, and had trouble communicating, though, based on his reactions to things, "you [knew he was] there", one of his friends tells the Herald.

"We were sitting over here having a bit of a red wine appreciation night, trying to act as grown up and a slug came crawling across here", recalled Ballard's pal Jimmy Galvin of the 2010 incident.

There were no immediate problems after ingesting the mollusk. Multiple sclerosis, which his father had, was also feared to be causing his symptoms before being ruled out. His mother told him not to worry.

Doctors later diagnosed him with rat lungworm, which usually affects only rodents.

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.

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The Australian health authority's website states the infection is extremely rare and that most people recover fully without treatment.

He got sick a few days later after eating the slug and contracted eosinophilic meningoencephalitis from the rat lungworm and fell into a coma for 420 days - and due to brain damage Sam was paralyzed when he awoke.

He died Friday, surrounded by his family and friends, Australian journalist Lisa Wilkinson reported.

"His last words to his mom: 'I love you, '" she posted online.

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