Sydney Man Who Became Ill After Eating A Slug Passes Away

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"It's just a silly thing". Health officials warn people not to eat raw snails or slugs and to thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables and inspect them for the slimy creatures. He said he and Sam Ballard were drinking at a party with pals in 2010 when Sam spotted the slug and had an idea.

His mother was also his main caretaker for the past almost-nine years.

Ballard was 19 and a promising rugby player when he ate the slug as a dare while hanging out with his friends. CNN reached out to Galvin but has not heard back. 'Should I eat it?' And off Sam went.

In the days after swallowing the slug, Ballard developed pains in his legs and was hospitalized after spells of persistent dizziness and vomiting.

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Ballard's mother, Katie Ballard, explained to Australian news show The Sunday Project that while at the hospital the family wondered if had multiple sclerosis, something Ballard's father suffered from.

'The conversation came up: "Should I eat it?" off Sam went. But his doctors soon discovered that he had gotten sick from the slug. What is rat lungworm disease? As the name suggests, the parasite lodges in the lungs of rats and is later excreted in poop. People can also become infected when they eat an infected slug or snail. Doctors confirmed Ballard had contracted rat lungworm, a parasite that most commonly lives in rodents, such as rats. Those gastropods can then transmit the worm to humans. The parasite is not passed from human to human.

The infection has severely damaged his brain.

Katie Ballard with her Sam who was left severely disabled after contracting meningitis and was in a coma for over 400 days. Get CNN Health's weekly newsletter Sign up here to get The Results Are In with Dr. Sanjay Gupta every Tuesday from the CNN Health team.

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The NDIS said it had been "working closely with the Ballard family" to find a resolution and increase Sam's support package. When he did, the former rugby standout "just started bawling his eyes out". "I know he's there".

Australian newsreader Lisa Wilkinson, working for Network 10, broke the news on Sunday, saying: "We have some sad news for you now".

Ballard was "surrounded by his family and loyal, loving mates" when he passed away, she said. "Katie tells me the room was so full of love". His last words, "I love you", were to his mom.

A funeral service will be held for Sam on Thursday, according to a post on Galvin's facebook page.

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