A man in China with a severe cough for two months has had two live leeches removed from his nostril and throat.
The unnamed man went to Wuping County Hospital for a check-up after suffering for two months, only to realize that his coughing was caused by the leeches.
After visiting the hospital’s respiratory department, an initial CT scan was conducted which did not show anything unusual.
A bronchoscopy was then done to get a better study. Bronchoscopy is a procedure to allow doctors to examine one’s lungs and air passages.
After this test, the two live leeches living inside the man’s nostrils were discovered.
According to reports, one leech was found in his right nostril and the other about three centimetres below his glottis, the part of the larynx consisting of the vocal cords and the opening between them.
Before the leeches were removed with a pair of tweezers, Dr Rao Guanyong, director of the hospital’s respiratory department, gave local anaesthesia to the patient.
Although the exact reason behind the leeches reaching the man’s respiratory tract remains unknown, it is believed that he had taken in the leeches without realising while drinking water from mountain streams.
“When he drank with water (containing the leeches), it was likely that they were very small and undetectable by the naked eye. In the past month or two, the leeches have sucked the patient’s blood and grown,” Dr Guanyong said.
The man is now recovering.