Three people were airlifted today from Fraser Island for probable irukandji jellyfish stings, after another poor sod was medevaced from the Queensland island yesterday.
Two of the swimmers, a teenager and a woman in her 20s, were stung in the Woralie Creek
region just after midday. Another woman in her 30’s was hit in the Coongul Creek
vicinity earlier in the morning.
All of that follows another woman in her 20s being airlifted from Woralie Creek on Wednesday. They are all being treated in hospitals on the mainland, and at least one of the stings has been 100% confirmed as being caused by irukandji.
FWIW: Irukandji are the world’s smallest and most venomous box jellyfish, and are only found in Australian waters. While their bell is often no more than 20mm in diameter, their tentacles can be up to a metre long.
That means they’re small enough to slip through stinger nets and long enough to wrap around unsuspecting limbs, allowing them to deliver (this is a technical term) a shitload of venom.
The little buggers are stealthy about it too.
“The thing with an irukandji sting is that there’s often a significant delay, it averages around 30 minutes, but in these cases today it was around an hour after they were stung that they showed symptoms,” Queensland Ambulance’s Martin Kelly told the Brisbane Times.
Stings from the irukandji cause something known as irukandji syndrome, which brings on excruciating muscle cramps, pain in the back and kidneys, burning of the skin, headaches, nausea, sweating, restlessness, vomiting, blood pressure issues, and (not surprisingly) a sense of impending doom.
Kelly has cautioned swimmers against going into waters known to be home to stingers. After reading about the effects of a little brush up against one of the tiny murder-bags: same.
Image: Pete Karas / Getty.