The woman did not realise anything was wrong until two weeks later when she felt there was something in her nose. A first attempt by the family doctor to remove it failed due to profuse nosebleed while a second attempt in hospital was also unsuccessful as the leech retracted into her nose, the journal said in its report on the rare complaint. Doctors finally managed to remove it using a nasal spray to anaesthetise the five-centimetre-long bloodsucker a month after it had invaded her nostril.
“After two minutes, the leech slowly moved out of the antrum (sinus) and was retrieved with forceps,” it said.
“This form of leech infestation has not been previously reported,” it added.
The woman could have suffocated if the leech had attached itself to her larynx, the journal said.
“I did not notice any leeches in the water,” the 55-year-old housewife told the South China Morning Post. “I am used to seeing all these worms in the water while hiking.”Another member of her hiking group had also suffered a similar leech infestation and was also treated, the journal said.