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A Backpacker Came Home From Asia To Find A 3-Inch Leech Living In Her Face

She named him Mr. Curly.

Posted on October 12, 2014, at 3:58 p.m. ET

A woman traveling around Southeast Asia attributed her frequent nosebleeds to a motorbike crash, but it turned out to be something much, much worse.

Shortly after she returned home to Edinburgh, Daniela Liverani thought a lump peeking out of her nose was just congealed blood, and that a motorbike accident had caused her to burst a blood vessel.

Caters

But it turned out that the cause was actually a living leech, 3 inches long and poking out of her nostrils.

"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," Liverani told the Sunday Mail.

Liverani added, "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 realized he was an animal."

Caters

The 24-year-old was rushed to the hospital to have the slimy creature removed. Hospital staff had to pin Liverani to the bed as they examined her, trying to remove the parasite with forceps.

"It was agony," she said. "Whenever the doctor grabbed him, I could feel the leech tugging at the inside of my nose."

But the doctors were successful, and eventually got the stubborn bugger out.

"[A]ll 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," she recalled.

Caters

Because he was curled in a ball, using her nostril like a nest, Liverani said she and her friend named the leech Mr. Curly. "At one point, I could feel him up at my eyebrow," she said.

A doctor told Liverani that if she had never gone to the hospital, Mr. Curly likely would have made his way to her brain.

Mark Siddal, curator at the American Museum of Natural History in New York and an expert on leeches, told the Record that the leech was likely much smaller when it first went into Liverani's nose, and grew over time from feeding on her blood.

It could have made his way inside while she was swimming in Vietnam, he said, or even through her mouth while she drank water.

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A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.