Slug-eating dare sparks Australia health alarm
Friday 14 May 2010
Australian health authorities Thursday warned people against eating raw slugs after a man who reportedly ingested one as a dare became critically ill with a rare form of meningitis.
New South Wales health officials issued the warning following media reports that a 21-year-old man had been hospitalised with "rat lung worm" meningitis after a prank in which he swallowed a garden slug.
Normally found in Asia and the Pacific islands, the parasite was carried by snails and slugs which had eaten the faeces of infected rodents, and cases in Australia were rare, said communicable diseases chief Jeremy McAnulty.
"In the past, this sometimes has happened after a person has been dared to eat a slug or snail," McAnulty said in a public health alert.
"You should not eat raw slugs or snails and other animals, and ensure that you wash your hands after touching them."
Most infected people would only suffer mild, short-lived symptoms, but McAnulty said some could fall seriously ill.
"Even if infected, most people recover fully without treatment. However, it can sometimes cause severe meningitis," he said.
Because humans were not the natural host of the parasite, McAnulty said it eventually died without treatment and could not be passed from person to person.
Life & Style blogs
Astrological signs are almost all wrong, as movement of moon and sun throws out zodiac
PTSD photo series documents what the disorder is really like – as study reveals suicides of 22 US veterans every day
The distress of some Zayn Malik fans is real, and they need support, say experts
Chair-bound workers 'should move around every hour to reduce physical and mental health risks'
The truth about student sex workers: it's far from Belle Du Jour
- 1 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 2 Watch: Man takes selfie every mile of 2,600 mile hike, creates amazing timelapse video
- 3 The day I starred in Only Fools and Horses
- 4 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
- 5 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...
£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...
£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...