I HAD 3-INCH LEECH LIVING UP MY NOSE FOR ONE MONTH... Doctors find bloodsucker hidden up backpacker's nostril.
Byline: AIMEE BEVERIDGE
A BACKPACKER brought an unwanted souvenir home from Vietnam - a three-inch leech wedged up her nose.
Daniela Liverani, 24, was "freaked out" after finding the bloodsucker living in her nostril.
She had started having nosebleeds after falling off a motorbike while travelling in south east Asia.
Daniela assumed the "blood clot" that kept appearing in her right nostril was congealed blood.
But after a month back in Edinburgh she realised it was a creature when she looked in the mirror and saw it moving.
The 24-year-old went to A&E at the city's Royal Infirmary, where medics told her if she had not been treated then the leech would have made its way into her brain.
Bartender Daniela said: "The doctor used nose forceps to prise my nostrils open really wide.
"After half an hour, she had the leech in the tweezers. He was about as long as my forefinger but as fat as my thumb.
"He could move so fast as well. I've no idea how he got up there but he'd have got bigger and bigger from feeding on my blood.
"He had been curled up in a big ball, using my nostril as a nest, so I called him Mr Curly."
Leech expert Mark Siddal, at the American Museum of Natural History, New York, said: "Daniela could have picked up this leech from swimming in Vietnam.
"Or it could have gone in through her mouth, as she drank water."
LEECHES can suck five times their own body weight in blood.
The creatures are able to enter victims' bodies unnoticed as their skin is smooth and an anaesthetic in their saliva means bites are painless.
They were first used for medicinal purposes in ancient Greece and India and are still at work in hospitals today.
Leeches are hermaphrodites, meaning they have male and female reproductive organs. There are 700 varieties and most live in fresh water.
BIKING Daniela in Vietnam
CREEPY CRAWLER Daniela and the three inch leech taken from nose
SCARY But leech bite is painless