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Backpacker brings back three-inch LEECH from travels in Vietnam – up her nose
Daniela Liverani carried the bloodsucker – which was as long as her finger and as thick as her thumb – in her nostril for a month before doctors removed it
A British backpacker brought an unwanted souvenir home from her travels in Vietnam – in the form of a slimy three-inch leech wedged up her nose.
Daniela Liverani was travelling around south-east Asia when she started suffering persistent nosebleeds.
The 24-year-old assumed it was nothing more than a burst blood vessel.
Days later, after she returned home to Edinburgh, she spotted something poking out from her right nostril and thought it was just a blood clot.
But last week, she was rushed into A&E at Edinburgh’s Royal Infirmary after discovering a leech had been living in her nose for a month.
Daniela, originally from Glasgow, said: “About two weeks before I came home from Asia, I started having nosebleeds.
“I’d fallen off a motorbike just before they started so at first I thought I must have burst a blood vessel.
“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.”
Even when the leech started to make its way out of her nose, bartender Daniela still thought it was a blood clot, reports the Daily Record.
She said: “I saw him so many times but I just sniffed him back up.
“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.
“My friend Jenny and I called NHS 24 and were told to get to accident and emergency as soon as possible.”
Daniela was whisked into a treatment room where a nurse and doctor examined her nose using a torch, forceps and tweezers.
She said: “The staff were horrified. The doctor used a nose forceps to prise my nostrils open really wide – it was agony.
“The nurse and Jenny pinned me down to the bed. Whenever the doctor grabbed him, I could feel tugging at the inside of my nose.
“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 but as fat as my thumb.
“He could move so fast as well, which freaked me out. I’ve no idea how he got up there but he’d have got bigger and bigger from feeding on my blood.
“He had been curled up in a big ball, using my nostril as a little nest, so Jenny and I called him Mr Curly. At one point, I could feel him up at my eyebrow.
“I asked the doctor what would’ve happened if I hadn’t gone to hospital and she said he’d probably have worked his way into my brain.”
Mark Siddal, curator at the American Museum of Natural History in New York and an expert on leeches 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.”
Daniela isn’t the first person to have a creepy crawly removed from an orifice.
Watch a brave medic pull a giant insect from a man’s ear in India in the clip below.
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