Department of Parks adn Wildlife
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Irukandji occurrence in Ningaloo Reef

Irukandji jellyfish
Irukandji jellyfish Cindy White

The Department of Parks and Wildlife has reminded people visiting Ningaloo Reef to be aware that irukandji jellyfish may be present following a number of reported cases of Irukandji Syndrome this year.

All users of the marine environment including commercial operators should be aware of the dangers of irukandji jellyfish, be able to recognise the signs and symptoms, be aware of first aid procedures, have a plan for gaining medical assistance and be aware of methods to reduce the risk of being stung.

If people are stung by an irukandji, they should be aware that:

  • Irukandji jellyfish are small, transparent and often not seen. The initial sting may be minor and go unnoticed as nothing more than a painful irritant with a rash akin to that of prickly heat.
  • If you have been in the sea and feel like you may have been stung, treat all unexpected pain with suspicion, no matter how slight. Irukandji stings generally cause minor local redness and are not associated with welts.
  • Generalised signs and symptoms relating to Irukandji Syndrome may not be immediate and generally appear between 5 to 45 minutes after the initial sting. Signs and symptoms can include:
    • severe generalised muscular pain
    • headache
    • nausea
    • vomiting
    • anxiety
    • restlessness
    • breathing difficulties

If you suspect you have been stung by a jellyfish, first-aid must be quickly applied when available:

  • pour vinegar onto the sting, do not rub and do not rinse with freshwater
  • treat using the principles of (danger, resuscitation, send for help, airways, breathing, circulation – DRSABC)
  • Seek urgent medical assistance.

People are also reminded that wearing full body stinger suits or wetsuits made of nylon or lycra or other body coverings can reduce the likelihood of being stung. However, the face, hands and feet may still be at risk if they are not covered.


Last modified on Wednesday, 17 June 2015 13:43