The slug that caused a medical nightmare

“Just because they’re not in a book somewhere doesn’t mean new or rare conditions can’t come along — that is what happened to us,” says Katie Ballard.

What began just over three years ago as a seemingly harmless dare among a group of mates became a never-ending medical nightmare for the Ballard family that made world headlines.

Sam Ballard, then 21, was struck down by the nematode Angiostrongylus cantonensis — or rat lungworm — after accepting a friend’s dare to eat a slug in a Sydney backyard.

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