Australian man who ate slug on a dare critically ill

I always wondered about stupid shows like Fear Factor, where contestants are often forced to eat a variety of suspect foods – maybe the stuff is sterilized beforehand so the people don’t pick up parasites or other unfriendlies.

A 21-year-old Sydney man wasn’t so fortunate and is critically ill after eating a slug as a dare. The man contracted a rare form of meningitis called Angiostrongylus or rat lung worm after eating the slug.

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.

Dr Jeremy McAnulty from New South Wales Health told the Sydney Morning Herald that people should not eat raw slugs or snails and should ensure they wash their hands after touching them, adding,

"It is also important to thoroughly wash and cook any produce that could be contaminated by animals.”