Thursday, 8 January 2015

Two children, six and 10, survive stings by Irukandji jellyfish on WA beach

Health officials say the intense pain generated by the Irukandji’s sting raises the victim’s blood pressure which can lead to death


theguardian.com, Wednesday 7 January 2015 06.23 GMT

Two children have been treated for the sting of a tiny jellyfish known for producing “a sense of impending doom” in its victims.

The children, a six-year-old girl and a 10-year-old boy, were stung by Irukandji jellyfish at Honeymoon Cove beach in far-north Western Australia on New Year’s Day and 4 January respectively.

A spokesman for the WA Country Health Service said both were taken to the emergency department of the Nickol Bay hospital and “responded well” to treatment.

Jamie Seymour, an associate professor from James Cook University and recognised expert in venomous Australian animals, said symptoms from the sting of the thumbnail-sized jellyfish take 20 minutes to develop and “range from a mild headache to death”. Usually, though, they present as “intense, overall pain”.

“[People get] stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting and pain coming in waves,” Seymour said. “But it’s not a wave that comes and goes, it’s a wave that builds up. It’s progressive. It peaks, and peaks again, and peaks again.”

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