An Australian father of three is believed to have died from salmonella that he contracted after eating a gecko on a dare.
David Dowell died just days 10 days after he began complaining about stomach pains following a Dec. 1 Christmas party, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
Initially, his family said, Dowell thought he was just hungover from the party. But a day later, he was throwing up "green," his sister Hannah Dowell told the paper.
That Tuesday, David was diagnosed with a salmonella infection. Salmonella is a foodborne illness that affects the intestinal track. It causes nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and, in some cases, death, according to the Mayo Clinic.
David's family at first thought he might have eaten some bad chicken, but then a friend recalled David eating a gecko at the party and told David's partner, Allira Bricknell, according to Hannah.
"She told the doctor and the doctor said, 'That could have been it,'" Hannah said.
She added that there's no evidence one way or the other that David did in fact eat the gecko. "It was a dare, so he might have intended to eat it and then thrown it away," she said. "At the end of the day, we don’t know."
David died on Dec. 11 after suffering from organ failure throughout his body, his family said, having "basically rotted from the inside out."
Speaking to 7News.com.au, Bricknell said she would warn against anyone ever accepting a dare like the one David might have.
"We never thought this would happen, it was just a big shock and it still is a big shock," she said. "... I didn't want him remembered like this, I want to remember the happy times."
On June 25, what would have been his 35th birthday, David was honored with a vigil.
"That was the kind of person he was. ... I’m so grateful that I got to spend time with him," Hannah said. "I’m glad that he was my brother."