Ninth Irukandji jelly fish sting on Fraser Island Fraser Coast Queensland Australia

Ninth Irukandji sting on Fraser Island

A SNORKELLER is in hospital after the ninth suspected Irukandji jellyfish sting at Queensland’s Fraser Island in just over a week.

The 19-year-old man was stung on the lip while swimming in Coongul Creek on the western side of the island about 11am on Tuesday.

He was treated at the scene by paramedics before being flown to Bundaberg Base Hospital.

Paramedic Phillip Switzer said the man didn’t see the jellyfish but experienced severe nausea, vomiting and pain within 10 minutes of being stung. The incident is the ninth suspected Irukandji sting at Fraser Island since December 22, with the venomous jellyfish positively identified as being responsible for at least one of the incidents.

Mr Switzer said all nine cases had happened on the western side of the island in its calmer and warmer waters.

“We have no evidence to say they are or are not Irukandji,” Mr Switzer said. “There are certainly jellyfish floating but no one’s actually caught one so we can’t disprove that they’re not Irukandji or a jellyfish in the same family that produced the symptoms of an Irukandji jellyfish.” Eight people were treated at Fraser Island for Irukandji-like symptoms in 2015, Mr Switzer said.

The Irukandji — the world’s smallest jellyfish — is usually found in waters north of Mackay, about 700km further up the coast.

But news.com.au reported this week that the deadly jellyfish are on a southern invasion to warmer waters.

Scientists predict the jellyfish, of which there are at least eight species, will reach the Sunshine Coast within the next two decades.

Victims initially experience severe nausea, followed by multiple bouts of vomiting, pain that normally begins in the back and radiates up the neck to the chest and abdominal cavity, leg pain and cramping.

Mr Switzer said anyone believed to have been stung by one should treat the sting with vinegar and call triple-0.

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Henry Sapiecha

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