A 21-year-old Australian man contracted a disease called rat lungworm, which is a rare form of meningitis, according to Australian national broadcaster ABC.

The incident has prompted health officials to issue warnings about the dangers of eating raw gastropods, or slugs and snails, which carry the parasitic worm.

The disease causes the brain and spinal cord to swell and can be fatal.

However, Dr. Jeremy McAnulty from New South Wales Health said most people recover from the illness because the body's immune system can get rid of it.

It cannot be transferred from person to person.

The larva of the parasite is only found in rodents' feces, which many snails and slugs eat and then become infected.

McAnulty advised anyone planning to eat the slippery creatures to wash them thoroughly first.

The rat lungworm is mainly found in Asia and the Pacific Islands.

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