Doctors have warned of the dangers of drinking uncooked water after the 4-inch leech was found to have been living and growing inside the pensioner’s throat for two months.
The patient surnamed Li, 60, had been trying to cure his itchy throat and bloody cough for two months but was repeatedly misdiagnosed.
The mystery behind his painful and chronic cough was finally solved when he sought out specialists at the Xingwen County Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine in the city of Yibin in south-western China’s Sichuan Province.
Doctor Zhang Dadong performed an endoscopy on the pensioner and immediately discovered the fat leech living on the walls of his windpipe.
The slippery animal proved difficult to retrieve, so he enlisted the help of his colleagues who managed to calm the leech using an aerosol sedative.
Zhang was then able to pull the leech out using a pair of forceps.
Li, who is from the rural township of Daba, is believed to have ingested leech eggs through drinking uncooked water.
The larva hatched in his throat and fed on his blood for two months, increasing in size until it grew to its current size.
Zhang has advised members of the public to boil their water for their own safety.