If The Booger Moved, You May Have ... Nostril Tick!

Image: Gabriel L. Hamer

University of Wisconsin, Madison, Veterinary epidemiologist Tony Goldberg came back from a trip to Uganda to study chimpanzees and how the diseases they carry may jump to another species like humans, when he felt an itch in his nose.

Did Goldberg unwittingly brough home a parasite? Only one way to find out, as Lizzie Wade of Science Now reports:

Goldberg quickly gathered the necessary supplies—a pair of forceps, a flashlight, and a mirror—and steeled his resolve. Using the mirror to steer his hand, he poked the instrument into his irritated nostril, latched onto a suspicious lump, and quickly yanked it out, careful not to snag any nose hairs in the process. There it was: an adolescent tick. At that point, Goldberg knew, it had likely been living in his nostril for several days.

Goldberg's nostril tick is nothing to sneeze at: after sequencing its DNA, Goldberg realized that it could be a whole new species of tick.

So, next time your booger wriggles, you know what it is!

Oh, and how did it feel to have a nostril tick? Goldberg said that on the whole, the experience is "not pleasant but not as bad as you might think.")

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