Teenage boy dies from box jellyfish sting in Far North Queensland


A teenage boy has died in hospital a week after being stung by a box jellyfish.

The 17-year-old was swimming at Patterson Point, near Bamaga, in Cape York in Far North Queensland on February 22 when he was stung.

The Royal Flying Doctor Service transported the boy to Townsville Hospital’s intensive care unit, where he died yesterday, Queensland Police confirmed to nine.com.au.

A teenage boy has died after being stung by a box jellyfish.
A teenage boy has died after being stung by a box jellyfish. (AP)

It is believed to be the first fatality from a box jellyfish sting in 15 years.

Following the teenager’s death, Torres and Cape Hospital and Health issued a warning about swimming in waters in the region.

“We are seeing sightings of both box jellyfish and jellyfish that cause Irukandji syndrome in our waters,” Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service Northern Director of Medical Services Dr Marlow Coates said.

“If you don’t have a protective suit and you know there could be stingers or jellyfish in the water, just don’t go in,” he said.

“It’s also important that people are familiar with resuscitation methods – early resuscitation after major stings from box jellies has saved lives in the past few years.”

What happens if you get stung?

The Australian box jellyfish, Chironex fleckeri, is extremely dangerous and a constant threat through the warmer months on the Northern Queensland coast.

It is a large but almost transparent jellyfish with a box-shaped bell (with four corners).

A major Chironex sting is immediately and excruciatingly painful. It should be considered life-threatening.

Large box jellies such as Chironex have caused more than 70 fatalities in Australia.

Do not use salt or fresh water to treat Chironex – it will cause the stinging cells to discharge and worsen the sting.

Use vinegar instead and do not rub the sting or try to remove tentacles.

Source: Queensland Health