Beachgoers in Queensland are being warned of a possible influx of deadly jellyfish, after four irukandji sting victims were airlifted from Fraser Island on Wednesday and Thursday.
The irukandji, the world’s smallest and most venomous box jellyfish, is usually found north of Mackay, but James Cook University Associate Professor Jamie Seymour told ABC Radio that they are clearly following unusually warm sea temperatures south.
“We’ve got good data now that shows quite nicely that irukandji has been spreading down the east coast of Australia, moving slowly but surely southwards,” he said.
“It’s only a matter of time before they get to the southern end of Fraser Island down to the Sunny Coast.”
Not at all an ominous statement, considering the huge numbers of people in the water at Sunny Coast beaches, or the fact that stings from the tiny blighters create such havoc in the human nervous system that sufferers have been known to beg their doctors to kill them. Cool!!!!!
While there have only been two confirmed deaths from irukandji stings in recent history, Associate Professor Seymour described being stung as “a 10 out of 10 pain that you are going to hang onto for probably six to 12 hours.” Still think the ocean doesn’t hate us? Hmm?
Unsurprisingly, local tourism bodies are scrambling to downplay the seriousness of the malicious jellybeans’ migration, with Queensland Tourism Industry Council chief executive Daniel Gschwind comfortingly telling us all that there’s no need to panic.
“Sometimes the evidence has to be assessed properly. Because we can’t conclude the irukandji is moving further south just because of a few incidences.”
Sure, Daniel! I’m still going to stay out of the water for, oh, the rest of my life, probably. It’s the murder bags’ water now. We had fun while it lasted.