The day on which the life of Sam Ballard for always-changing, is a couple of years: in 2010, the then 19-Year-old friends sat together in the garden. You drank wine and joked, when suddenly a snail on the terrace, crept. The boys noticed the animal and thought that it would be funny if someone ate the snail. A stupid idea, a dare, nothing more. Sam grabbed the snail, and swallowed the slimy animal.

a Few days after the dare-developed Sam in pain in the legs, reported the Australian TV Show “The Sunday Project” in April of this year. Sam’s mother Katie Ballard was afraid at first, your son could be suffering from Multiple sclerosis (MS). The Declaration appeared to her to be obvious. Also Sam’s father suffers from the chronic inflammatory disease of the nervous system. Sam told his mother the courage with the snail – but she waved them off. “I told him, ‘no, no one is of something sick’.”

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The Doctors finally found the reason for Sam’s complaints: He had been infected with a dangerous parasite called rat lung worm. The main host of the worm are rats, in the lungs, he is alive. The larvae of the parasite survival in rat Droppings, and the worm will eat. Also shrimp or frogs can transfer the larvae. People are stuck with the parasites, if raw or undercooked contaminated animals to eat. A further infection is a possibility lettuce leaves, between which slugs can hide and go unnoticed to be eaten.

The rat-lung worm, originally from Asia, but also in Australia, Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific Islands. Human infections are usually harmless and heal by themselves.

Differently in the case of Sam: He was diagnosed with a rare Form of Meningitis, because the worm had made on the way in the direction of the brain. He fell into a coma from which he awoke only after 420 days. From that day on he was paralyzed from the neck down and could no longer eat on their own. His family took care of henceforth sacrificially to the young man.

Sam’s fight against the disease is gone last Friday. He died at the age of 29, surrounded by friends and family.