Warning: This story is graphic and stomach-churning, and the details could be disturbing to some readers. Reader discretion is advised.
A large leech was removed from an 11-year-old boy in China, after he was taken to the hospital after complaining of an on-going sore throat and dizzy spells. The leech had attached itself to the child’s respiratory tract and was sucking blood from inside the boy’s throat, The Mirror reported.
“It had grown to 7cm, and every time it curled up it blocked his airway causing him to lose consciousness,” a hospital spokesperson told media outlets.
At first the school-aged boy, Xiaobo Chien, was treated for the flu by his mother, but when the boy began to repeatedly black out she realized something more serious was at play. After he was taken the hospital, doctors discovered a dark form on his X-rays revealed something lodged in his windpipe.
Doctors reported that the leech did not cause an infection and they were able to extract the creature without any complications.
The boy’s family says they believe the leech entered his system after he stopped on the walk home from school to drink from a pond on the side of the road. The water probably contained leech larvae, which the boy accidentally swallowed along with the water.