Health authorities in Australian state issue slug warning
SYDNEY, May 13 (Xinhua) -- New South Wales (NSW) health authorities issued warnings on Thursday after a Sydney man became seriously ill from eating a slug as a dare.
The man, 21, is in a critical condition in hospital after contracting a rare form of meningitis called Angiostrongylus or rat lung worm after eating the slug.
NSW Health said animals including slugs and snails can carry a range of infections, including bacteria, viruses and parasites that may infect people.
The adult form of the rat lung worm is found only in rodents, which pass the parasite's larvae in their feces. Snails and slugs then eat the feces, becoming infected.
In some instances, the worm can cause fatal swelling of the brain and spinal chord.
However, Dr Jeremy McAnulty from NSW Health said such cases are rare and most people do recover.
McAnulty said people should not eat raw slugs or snails and should ensure they wash their hands after touching them.
"It is also important to thoroughly wash and cook any produce that could be contaminated by animals," he said.
The worm is found mainly in Asia and the Pacific Islands.