Irukandji jellyfish stings man off Queensland coast

ONE of most venomous and deadly jellyfish inhabiting seas in North Queensland has stung a man off the Townsville coast.

A 25-year-old man was stung by an Irukandji jellyfish, a tiny yet dangerous species, at a Palm Island beach about 2pm on Thursday, Townsville Bulletin reports.

Paramedics were called to a private residence at 2.20pm and rushed the man to the Joyce Palmer Health Service where he is recovering in a stable condition.


One of the Irukandji that were captured in record numbers off Cairns beaches. PICTURE: ANNA ROGERS
One of the Irukandji that were captured in record numbers off Cairns beaches. PICTURE: ANNA ROGERS

Irukandji jellyfish fire their stingers into a victim, causing symptoms known as Irukandji syndrome.

The symptoms of Irukandji syndrome include headaches, backache, muscle pains, chest and abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, sweating, anxiety and hypertension.

Townsville Hospital Emergency Department Director Dr Luke Lawton said both Irukandji and box jellyfish were capable of killing humans.

"Irukandji venom causes uncontrolled elevation of blood pressure, sweating, tremors, muscle spasm and often uncontrolled pain," Dr Lawton said.

"People can have to be put on ventilators while the venom wears off.

"People stung by box jellyfish are more likely to experience cardiac arrest."

Three people have now been stung by Irukandji jellyfish in waters off Palm Island in the past fortnight; fortunately all of them have recovered.

Dr Lawton said the incidents showed stinger season was well and truly upon us with recent rainfall likely contributing to growing numbers.

"The stingers tend to reproduce in river estuaries and when there's rain they wash into the ocean," Dr Lawton said.

"It'd important the public realise now is the time to be sensible as the risk of stingers is now very serious.

"Swim at patrolled beaches, wear stinger suits, be aware and seek medical attention immediately if you are stung.

A rare early sighting of a large box jellyfish in Townsville's Breakwater Marina in November led one marine expert to warn of an early start to the stinger season.

Last week a large box jellyfish washed up at Mission Beach.



The Irukandji jellyfish is a tiny creature.
The Irukandji jellyfish is a tiny creature.