25 swim­mers get irukandji from stings

Pilbara News - - News - Ali­cia Per­era

More than 20 cases of the po­ten­tially deadly irukandji syn­drome from jel­ly­fish stings in Nin­ga­loo wa­ters have prompted the Depart­ment of Parks and Wildlife to is­sue their sec­ond public warn­ing in two months for swim­mers to take care.

About 25 irukandji syn­drome cases, most of which re­quired hos­pi­tal treat­ment, from swim­mers stung by jel­ly­fish along the Nin­ga­loo Coast have been re­ported to DPAW since March this year.

Peo­ple have been stung by both the large species of jel­ly­fish ca­pa­ble of caus­ing the syn­drome, Keesin­gia gi­gas, which are still be­ing seen in low num­bers along the Nin­ga­loo Coast, and a small trans­par­ent species thought to be Malo bella, which can be dif­fi­cult to see.

DPAW Nin­ga­loo Marine Park co­or­di­na­tor Dr Peter Barnes said this was the high­est num­ber of stings the wider area had seen since 2013, with most oc­cur­ring in the north­ern part of the Nin­ga­loo Marine Park this year.

He said DPAW were look­ing into the pos­si­ble causes of so many dan­ger­ous jel­ly­fish in the area but lit­tle was known about the par­tic­u­lar species present in Nin­ga­loo wa­ters, which were only dis­cov­ered sev­eral years ago.

“We’re work­ing with (jel­ly­fish bi­ol­o­gist) Lisa-Ann Gersh­win and an­other sci­en­tist from the CSIRO to try and col­lect as much in­for­ma­tion as we can this year to work out if there are any po­ten­tial fac­tors, such as winds or waves or wa­ter tem­per­a­tures, that might cor­re­late with the num­bers this year,” he said.

“The Keesin­gia gi­gas we’ve had last year and this year, but we’ve got such a small knowl­edge base that it’s dif­fi­cult to know.”

In a state­ment, DPAW warned swim­mers against en­ter­ing lo­cal wa­ters with any bare skin show­ing for risk of be­ing stung and should wear stinger suits or rash shirts.

DPAW warned last month Nin­ga­loo swim­mers should be care­ful of jel­ly­fish ca­pa­ble of caus­ing irukandji syn­drome

Irukandji syn­drome symp­toms, which in­clude se­vere pain and high blood pres­sure, ap­pear about 30 min­utes af­ter a sting.

Stings should be doused in vine­gar and vic­tims taken to hos­pi­tal.

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