An Australian teenager has been rushed to hospital after being stung by a Jellyfish on Sunday 20 September 2020. Indi Young, 13, from Nhulunbuy on the Gove Peninsula of the Northern Territory, was kitesurfing on Melville Bay, when she was stung by what is believed to have been an Irukandji Jellyfish, Carukia barnesi, due to the severity of the reaction. She was taken to the Gove District Hospital suffering from a burning pain on the skin combined with severe chest pains, which is typical of Irukandji stings.
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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