Thursday 20 December 2018

Carukia barnesi: Irukandji Jellyfish sting three bathers off Frazer Island, Queensland, in the last week.

Three people, including a primary-school-aged-child have been stung by Irukandji Jellyfish, Carukia barnesi, on beaches around Frazer Island, Queensland this week. All three were airlifted from the island to Hervey Bay Hospital on the mainland, where specialist treatment for the stings is available. 

An Irukandji Jellyfish, Carukia barnesi. ABC.

The Irukandji Jellyfish is a form of Box Jellyfish, Cubozoa, found along the northern coast of Australia, which has both a particularly potent sting and a very small size, making it particularly dangerous to swimmers. The Jellyfish are typically about 5 mm across, though they can reach as much as 30 mm, with tentacles between 5 and 50 mm in length. The sting of these Jellyfish is particularly potent, and can cause muscle aches, back pain, nausea, headaches, chest and abdominal pains, sweating, high blood pressure, difficulty breathing, and in extreme cases death. 

Irukandji Jellyfish are found in the waters to the north of Australia all year round, and move south during the southern summer, making them a threat to bathers along the north Australian coast. The Jellyfish move further south in warmer years, and there are concerns that rising sea temperatures associated with global warming may lead to them moving further south in the future.

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