Wm Sherrill
· Features

Teen paralysed after eating slug as a dare

A dangerous snack.

SAM Ballard, 19 who has been disabled after eating a garden slug at a party as a dare.

His friends Jimmy Galvin & Michael Sheasby appeared on TV along with Sam to discuss the how sam life has changed as a result of his decision that night.

Speaking to media:

Jimmy Galvin said he and Sam Ballard were drinking at a party with his friends when Sam spotted the slug and had an idea.

He said:

"We were sitting, having a bit of a red wine appreciation night, trying to act as grown-ups and a slug came crawling across.

The conversation came up: 'Should I eat it?' Off Sam went. Bang. That's how it happened."

However, shortly after eating it, Sam fell ill and was rushed into hospital - where he was diagnosed as having been infected with rat lungworm.

The worm is found in rats, but snails or slugs can become infected when they eat the faeces of rats which carry the parasite, known as Angiostrongylus cantonensis.

Although the condition is usually symptomless, in Sam's case it caused an infection on the brain.

He was diagnosed with eosinophilic meningo-encephalitis and fell into a coma, where he remained for 420 days. Since coming round he has become disabled and needs 24-hour care.