Expert says deadly irukandji jellyfish moving south
AN expert has warned it is only a matter of time before the deadly irukandji jellyfish moves further south into Sunshine Coast waters.
Four people have been hospitalised since Wednesday after suffering suspected irukandji stings off the Fraser Coast.
The irukandji - the world's smallest and most venomous box jellyfish - is usually found in waters north of Mackay, about 700km further up the coast.
James Cook University Associate Professor Jamie Seymour said it was clear the species was following warming sea temperatures south.
"We've got good data now that shows quite nicely that irukandji has been spreading down the east coast of Australia, moving slowly but surely southwards," he told ABC radio.
"It's only a matter of time before they get to the southern end of Fraser Island down to the Sunny Coast."
Queensland Ambulance supervisor Martin Kelly said at least one of the cases off the Fraser Coast had been positively identified as an irukandji sting.
He said while it was enticing to swim in areas off the Queensland coast, it could also be quite dangerous.
"People can wear stinger suits but ... where you have a choice of not swimming in an environment where they (stingers) are you should do that or stay in the very shallow water," he said.
"Prevention is far, far better than a cure." Irukandji jellyfish are typically difficult to see as they are only roughly a cubic centimetre in size.
Their stings can cause very high blood pressure or affect the heart, potentially resulting in death.
They can also cause severe muscular pain, anxious behaviour, headaches and vomiting.
Stings should be doused in copious amounts of vinegar or seawater until medical help arrives, Mr Kelly said.
UPDATE: PARAMEDICS are warning people to take care in the waters around Fraser Island after a series of irukandji jellyfish stings in recent days.
Queensland Ambulance Service Wide Bay senior operations supervisor Martin Kelly said irukandji stings could be fatal and could take from 30 minutes to up to an hour to be felt by a human victim.
Symptoms from an irukandji included feeling ill and restless as well as nausea and vomiting.
Mr Kelly said people should think twice about jumping into the waters off and around Fraser Island.
"While it's quite enticing to swim in those areas ... they can be quite dangerous," he said.
INITIAL REPORT: FOUR people are believed to have been stung by irukandji jellyfish on Fraser Island.
The Bundaberg-based RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter has airlifted four patients from the island within 24 hours.
A 39-year-old woman from Brisbane was stung yesterday around her neck and arm.
The RACQ LifeFlight Rescue Intensive care paramedic was winched to the beach to access and treat the patient before she was stabilised and airlifted to Hervey Bay Hospital in a stable condition.
This afternoon the Bundaberg based RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter was en route to Fraser Island again to airlift two more patients from Woralie Creek, both believed to also have been stung by irukandji jellyfish.
The patients a woman, 23, from France and a 12-year-old girl were to be airlifted to Hervey Bay Hospital in stable conditions.
On Wednesday, the Bundaberg based RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter airlifted a woman, 23, who was holidaying from Sydney to Hervey Bay Hospital in a stable condition that also had believed to have been stung by a irukandji jellyfish.
The incidents occurred within five kilometers of each other on the western side of Fraser Island.
This mornings mission was at Coongul Creek and yesterday's mission was at Woralie Creek.