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Sydney man who contracted rat lung-worm after eating slug dies

Thursday, February 21st, 2019

SAM Ballard never did anything wrong, if you ask family and friends.

The teenager from Sydney’s upper north shore was having a laugh and some red wine with mates in the backyard, “trying to act like grown ups”.

It was 2010 and it was a night that would change the 19-year-old’s life, and the lives of everybody around him, forever.

A slug crawled across the concrete patio and, teens being teens, a dare emerged for Sam to eat it.

One of his best friends, Jimmy Galvin, later described the moment.

“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,” he said.

“The conversation came up, you know. ‘Should I eat it?’ And off Sam went. Bang. That’s how it happened.”

Sam Ballard was infected with rat lungworm after eating a slug in 2010.

Sam Ballard and his maes.

He didn’t become sick immediately, but complained of serious pain in his legs in the days after.

He was worried it might’ve been a symptom of eating the slug, but his mother told him not to worry: “No-one gets sick from that,” she said.

Sam was worried he might have developed Multiple sclerosis, like his father, but that was ruled out.

Doctors later determined Sam was infected with rat lungworm.

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