UK
24/10/2013 08:46 BST

Jonathan D. Allen Pulls Parasitic Worm, Gongylonema pulchruma, From Own Cheek

An American biologist got so fed up with a parasitic worm living in his cheek that he removed it himself with forceps.

Jonathan D. Allen, assistant professor at the College of William and Mary, Virginia, first noticed the unwelcome guest last December.

He told HuffPost Live: "It was in the mucosa [the fleshy part of the cheek]. The first three months, it was in the back of the throat in places I could touch with my tongue.

worm in cheek

Gross

"I could feel it with my tongue but not my finger. It wasn't until it moved to my lip that I could see it and was willing to talk to someone other than my wife and confess this was in my body."

He made an appointment with an oral surgeon who was dismissive of his predicament, insisting it was "normal discolouration".

Describing his diagnosis as "totally depressing", Allen took matters into his own hands.

"I grabbed forceps and removed it from my cheek with my wife's help."

After removing it he set about identifying it. Luckily his next door neighbour was an expert in all things wormy.

worm in cheek 3

Turns out it was a Gongylonema pulchruma, normally found in livestock.

Despite the discomfort it caused him, Allen clearly felt somewhat attached to the little fellow as he now keeps it in a jar.

worm in cheek