After suffering from a bloody cough and itchy throat for two months, a 60-year-old Chinese man has finally learned that a leech has been the cause of his symptoms.
The patient, identified only by his surname Li, had been trying to find a cure for his condition but was repeatedly misdiagnosed, Mirror reports.
The mystery was eventually solved after doctors in Yibin, Sichuan province performed an endoscopy on Li and found a 4-inch leech inside his throat.
Doctor Zhang Dadong, a specialist at the Xingwen County Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, discovered the leech growing and living on the walls of his windpipe.
The creature proved difficult to remove, prompting Dr. Dadong to seek help from his colleagues for the sensitive leech-retrieval procedure.
Using an aerosol sedative, they were able to keep the leech from moving. Dadong then used a pair of forceps to pull the leech out.
Li lives in the rural township of Daba and is believed to have ingested leech eggs by drinking “raw” water. After hatching in his throat, the larva grew by feeding on Li’s blood for two months.
According to Dr. Dadong, locals living in rural areas should always boil their water to stay safe.