A British holidaymaker who went travelling in south-east Asia returned to the UK with a three-inch-long leech living in her nose.
The creature is thought to have survived inside Daniela Liverani, 24, for more than a month without her realising it was there.
She experienced a number of nosebleeds but thought they were the result of a burst blood vessel following a motorbike crash.
“After I got home, the nosebleeds stopped and I started seeing something sticking out of my nostril. I just thought it was congealed blood from the nosebleeds,” she told the Sunday Mail. “I tried to blow him out and grab him but I couldn't get a grip of him before he retreated back up my nose.
“When I was in the shower, he would come right out as far as my bottom lip and I could see him sticking out the bottom of my nose. So when that happened, I jumped out of the shower to look really closely in the mirror and I saw ridges on him. That's when I realised he was an animal.”
Ms Liverani, of Edinburgh, was taken to hospital where a doctor tried to remove the leech with forceps and tweezers.
“It was agony – whenever the doctor grabbed him, I could feel the leech tugging at the inside of my nose,” she said. “Then all of a sudden, after half an hour, the pain stopped and the doctor had the leech in the tweezers. He was about as long as my forefinger and as fat as my thumb.”
Leech expert Mark Siddal, curator of the American Museum of Natural History in New York, said: “Daniela could have picked up this leech from water in Vietnam, if she had been swimming. Or it could have gone in through her mouth, as she was drinking water.
“Even though it was there for around a month, these leeches don't grow all that quickly, so it wouldn't have been much smaller when it went up there. It would have been quite sizeable. It's interesting that people don't feel these leeches go up their nose.”Reuse content