Two teenagers are rushed to hospital with suspected Irukandji stings – after experts warn the deadly jellyfish have swarmed beaches
- A 14-year-old girl and a boy, 13, have been hospitalised after a jellyfish sting
- The teenagers were reportedly stung by Irukandji, a poisonous species
- They were airlifted to Hervey Bay hospital in a stable condition
- Earlier this week, there had been nearly 20 stings off the coast of Queensland
Two teenagers were rushed to hospital on Friday afternoon after reportedly being stung by Irukandji off the coast of Fraser Island.
A 13-year-old boy and 14-year-old girl were airlifted to Hervey Bay Hospital in a stable condition after reportedly receiving the poisonous stings about just before 5pm.
The teenagers were on a family boat trip. Two other people on board were also reported to have been stung but were stable and had no symptoms.
Irukandji are some of the smallest and most deadly jellyfish in the world, with the venom in its sting able to cause a fatal brain hemorrhage in a human.
Experts have warned the presence of jellyfish, especially the Irukandji species, will increase following heavy rainfall like that currently being experienced in Queensland.
‘All this rain, it’ll fire all jellyfish up,’ toxicologist expert Jamie Seymour said.
‘What you tend to find is after you’ve had big rainfall events, like we’re having at the moment, we’ll have large numbers of jellyfish, assuming the weather settles back down.’
Professor Seymour said earlier this week there had already been nearly 20 reported stings off the coast of Queensland, including four off Fraser Island.
He said the number was ‘above average’, with seven stings reported in Cairns, compared to one at this time last year.
‘The [stinging] season has become longer. Fifty years ago, the season was about a month,’ he said. ‘Now, it’s about 5-6 months.
‘It correlates quite nicely with increasing water temperature.’
Two beaches in northern Queensland were temporarily closed last weekend because of the deadly creatures.
A teenage girl was hospitalised after being stung at Ellis Beach in Cairns.
None of the jellyfish have been seen since though, as the wild weather has caused choppy seas, and Irukandji prefer still waters.
More to come.
Deadliness of the irukandji jellyfish
- Irukandji live off the northern coast of Australia.
- They are found mostly in the deeper areas of the Great Barrier Reef.
- The jellyfish is one of the smallest of its kind with a bell or main section measured less than 2.5cms across.
- On top of their small size they are transparent and difficult to see.
- Unlike most jellyfish that have stinging cells only on their tentacles, the Irukandji have them on their body as well
- The creature’s toxic sting is enough to hospitalise or kill a human.
- So distinct and deadly are the symptoms of the their sting, it has its own name, ‘irukandji syndrome’.
- Victims will suffer nausea, shooting muscle pains and fluid in the lungs