Leeches are not known to carry any diseases, in fact they were used traditionally as a cure-all for everything from indigestion to syphilis, as well as to remove blood for medicinal purposes. This practice can be traced back to ancient India and Greece. Today the medical use of leeches is making a comeback particularly as an aid to reduce swelling and clotting in microsurgery procedures.Leeches have the capacity to change colour dramatically and are hermaphrodites, having both male and female sex organs, so they are well equipped for the full range of wholesome fun.
Most leeches are aquatic (including some marine species) but Australia and South-East Asia are the only known places where leeches live on land, usually in moist forests. These are the kinds most likely to attach themselves to you! Globally there are around 700 species of Leech.
So please don’t burn a leech off yourself or drench it in salt or chemicals...just give it a gentle flick and it will go peaceable on its blood sucking way. Or better still, let it feed on you or a friend (it’s much more entertaining than watching the latest Dracula re-make!).
( NB. Some people do suffer allergic reactions from leech bites and may require medical care).