Published Date: 2011-10-13 17:05:21
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Angiostrongylus meningitis - Australia: Sydney
Archive Number: 20111013.3065
ANGIOSTRONGYLUS MENINGITIS - AUSTRALIA: SYDNEY
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Wed 12 Oct 2011
Source: The Independent [edited]
An Australian man is gravely ill in hospital after eating 2 slugs as
part of a dare. The rat lungworm parasite, also known as
_Angiostrongylus cantonensis_, is passed to slugs from rodent
Doctors believe that the 21-year-old, who has not been named,
contracted the rare rat lungworm parasite from the slugs.
The disease, which is a type of meningitis, can lead to swelling of
the brain and spinal cord and has been known to be fatal. The rat
lungworm parasite, also known as _Angiostrongylus cantonensis_, is
passed to slugs from rodent droppings. It can also be caught from raw
vegetables or fruit which have not been washed properly.
Doctors said the man told them he had swallowed 2 slugs from a Sydney
garden after a dare and had then fallen ill. He has spent the past
month in hospital in Sydney but is expected to survive. One relative,
who asked not to be named, told the Sydney Morning Herald that the man
had spent some time in intensive care.
"It's a real warning for people not to eat a slug." The New South
Wales health department said that slugs such as the giant African
snail could infect humans with bacteria, viruses and parasites.
Symptoms of the disease, which is not infectious, include headaches, a
stiff neck, tingling or pain in the skin, fever, nausea, and
[_Angiostrongylus cantonensis_ is a well known nematode in Australia
(Prociv P & Carlisle MS. The spread of _Angiostrongylus cantonensis_
in Australia. SE Asian J Trop Med Publ Hlth. 2001;32(Suppl2):126-8).
Citing from the paper: "Almost 50 years ago, the life cycle was
elucidated there, in the city of Brisbane, and the 1st human
infections probably occurred in 1959. From the 1970s, increasing
numbers of autochthonous infections have been reported along the
central east coast of the continent (southeast Queensland and northern
New South Wales), involving humans, rats, dogs, horses, flying foxes
and marsupials," and "it seems that virtually all species of native
and exotic terrestrial molluscs can serve as intermediate hosts."
Thus, it is no surprise that the unfortunate patient was infected, and
we hope it will help to remind others to avoid eating raw slugs and
molluscs. ProMED has not reported human infections with
_Angiostrongylus_ from Australia before. To see the ProMED HealthMap
for the location of this outbreak, go to:
http://healthmap.org/r/1kJ8. - Mod.EP]