Saturday, December 5, 2009

Irukandji Jellyfish Sting

The 29-year-old man, whose name has not been released, was on a yacht Thursday off northeast Queensland state. As a precaution, he was wearing a full-length "stinger suit," a lightweight version of a wetsuit that covers everything but the face, feet and hands and helps protect against venomous jellyfish that are common in northern Australia's waters during the Southern Hemisphere summer.
But when he dove into the water near South Molle Island, he was immediately stung in the face by a potentially lethal Irukandji jellyfish, Central Queensland Helicopter Rescue Service spokeswoman Leonie Hansen said. He was taken back to the island, where a rescue team rushed to his aid.
"The crew said he was shivering and in shock and in a great deal of pain," Hansen said.
The man, from the Queensland capital Brisbane, was in serious condition Friday at Mackay Base Hospital in Mackay, 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) north of Brisbane, a hospital spokeswoman said.
Unusual Animals

Glenn Olsen Photography / AP20 photos

The better to hear you with, my dear. Yoda was born with an extra set of ears, but that didn't stop Valerie Rock from falling in love and taking him home in 2008 after seeing him being passed around in a bar.
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Unusual Animals
The better to hear you with, my dear. Yoda was born with an extra set of ears, but that didn't stop Valerie Rock from falling in love and taking him home in 2008 after seeing him being passed around in a bar.
Glenn Olsen Photography / AP
Glenn Olsen Photography / AP
Unusual Animals
These conjoined Western diamondback rattlesnakes were found outside Tucson, Ariz., in August. Veterinarians at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum separated them. Unfortunately, only one survived.
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
"The one who died was the weaker of the two," said Craig Ivanyi, the museum's associate executive director for living collections. "He was being dragged around by his twin, and it was harder for him to recuperate." The prognosis is good, however, for his brother.
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Lilly, a five-legged Chihuahua-terrier mix, was saved from life in a Coney Island freak show after Allyson Siegel bought her for $4,000. Lilly had successful surgery to remove her extra leg on July 23.
Jeff Siner, The Charlotte Observer / AP
Staff at an animal hospital in Steamboat Springs, Colo., were stunned when this Black Angus calf was born with seven legs on May 21. The calf was delivered by cesarean section but only lived for about 10 minutes. Hospital staff said the animal also had two spines.
Matt Stensland, Steamboat Pilot & Today / AP
Are two noses better than one for sniffing out carrots? This double-nosed bunny was part of a delivery of 6-week-old dwarf rabbits that arrived in March at Purr-Fect Pets in Milford, Conn. The store owner said March 31 that the little rabbit eats, drinks and hops around just like the rest of the litter. Each nose has two nostrils.
Brian A. Pounds, The Connecticut Post / AP
Wheezie, left, and Zak wear their party hats for their first birthday party in this 2008 photo. Barbara and Frank Witte of Fowler, Calif., own the rare two-headed bearded dragon, which was featured in a Ripley's Believe it or Not cartoon.
Craig Kohlruss, Fresno Bee / MCT
A six-legged fawn is shown at an animal clinic in Rome, Ga., on July 21, 2008. The animal was cared for at the clinic after it was attacked by two dogs, sustaining injuries that resulted in one of its two tails being amputated. The fawn has two distinct pelvises and uses one leg from each pelvis to walk.
Brittany Hannah, The Rome News-Tribune / AP
The better to hear you with, my dear. Yoda was born with an extra set of ears, but that didn't stop Valerie Rock from falling in love and taking him home in 2008 after seeing him being passed around in a bar.
Glenn Olsen Photography / AP
Who's the fairest goat of them all? A young woman takes a picture of a goat with a curiously abbreviated snout during a competition and auction for the best-looking and rarest goats in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, June 12, 2008.
Hassan Ammar, AFP / Getty Images
A genetic aberration split Angel's front left leg in two, making her look like she has five legs. An Ohio veterinarian said in March 2008 that the condition doesn't cause the dog pain, but gives her problems moving around. The problem also can't be corrected through surgery.
Bruce Bishop, Elyria Chronicle Telegram / AP
Australia is well-known for its myriad deadly creatures, but the Irukandji remains rather mysterious. It is a distant relative of the more notorious and widely feared box jellyfish, the sting of which can kill an adult within 2 minutes. But the Irukandji is virtually impossible to see and is tiny enough to pass through nets meant to keep jellyfish away from popular swimming spots.
The jellyfish's sting can lead to "Irukandji syndrome," a set of symptoms that includes shooting pains in the muscles and chest, vomiting, restlessness and anxiety. Some symptoms can last for more than a week, and the syndrome can occasionally lead to a rapid rise in blood pressure and heart failure.
In 2002, two tourists were killed in separate incidents after being stung by the tiny creatures off northeast Australia — the first recorded Irukandji fatalities. But because the jellyfish leave almost no mark on their victims, scientists believe they are responsible for many deaths that were attributed as drownings or heart attacks, said marine biologist Lisa Gershwin, who has spent 11 years studying the animals.
"It's extremely serious," Gershwin said. "One of the very worst stings I've ever seen — sting as in permanent heart damage — was just three dots on the finger."
The most common Irukandji measures just 0.4 inches (10 millimeters) in length and has tentacles as thin as a strand of hair that can grow up to 3 feet (1 meter), Gershwin said. Scientists still don't know whether it's the Irukandji's body or tentacles that cause Irukandji syndrome, she said.
Even more discomforting for swimmers: there is no antivenom, and people generally don't realize they've been stung at first. The initial sting causes little pain, and it may be up to half an hour before a victim starts to feel the effects.
And those effects, Gershwin says, can be disastrous, with some stings causing blood pressures to soar as high as 280 over 180.
The creatures are found worldwide, from North Wales to Cape Town in South Africa, Gershwin said.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

This poor creature! Now people are probably going to try and make it extinct! Please, do not hurt this creature. It was just defending itself!

This is Neko and Teko, protecting animals everywhere.

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