11/24/2011 09:44 am ET Updated Nov 24, 2011

Doctors Remove 4-Inch Leech From Tao Jiayuan's Throat (VIDEO)

When Tao Jiayuan, a 16-year-old Chinese boy, complained of a sore throat two months ago, he could have been just any kid anywhere in the world who was looking at staying home from school for an afternoon, sipping tea and honey.

At first, the boy's mom thought he had caught a cold, according to

After the teen kept having trouble breathing and lost weight, however, his parents took him to the hospital so he could be checked by doctors, who found the real reason for Tao's sucky throat condition: A large leech measuring nearly four inches living inside his windpipe.

It was one tough sucker, too. The doctors who removed the leech said it was still alive and unaffected by the anaesthetic they had given to the boy, according to

It's not common for leeches to get sucked into the human body, but Chen Bing, the doctor in charge of the operation said it is possible for them to stay alive in a human's nasal cavity or throat.

Leeches are commonly found in fresh water environments such as creeks, rice fields and ponds, according to

Tao's father, Tao Chuanhua, speculates that is how his son got infected.

“He must have drunk stream water when working in the field,” he said.