Australian Schoolgirl Survives Deadly Box Jellyfish Stings


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Australian schoolgirl survives deadly box jellyfish stings

Rachael Shardlow, aged 10, survived stings from the world's most poisonous jellyish despite horrific injuries when swimming in Queensland waters.

The leg of 10-year-old Australian schoolgirl Rachael Shardlow who survived being stung by a deadly box jellyfish. Photograph: ABC TV/AFP/Getty Images

Doctors in Australia have described their amazement at the recovery of a girl who was left unconscious after swimming into the tentacles of a box jellyfish.
Rachael Shardlow, 10, suffered horrific injuries to her legs and body when she came into contact with the jellyfish while swimming in an estuary in Queensland, Australia, in December.
The girl, who was pulled from the river with the stinging tentacles still clinging to her limbs, lost her vision and then stopped breathing and fell unconscious in the arms of her brother.
Jamie Seymour, who has studied jellyfish for 20 years at Queensland's James Cook University told reporters the extent of the sting was "horrific".
"When I first saw the pictures of the injuries I just went, 'you know to be honest, this kid should not be alive'. Usually when you see people who have been stung by box jellyfish with that number of the tentacle contacts on their body, it's in a morgue."
Box jellyfish are the most dangerous and venomous jellyfish in the world. Adults can grow to 30cm wide with up to 60 tentacles that stretch up to 2 metres long. They are transparent in the water, making them exceptionally difficult to see. At least 63 people are known to have died from being stung by box jellyfish.
Each box jellyfish tentacle contains millions of stinging cells called nematocysts, which release venom on contact. Trying to remove the tentacles can cause more venom to be discharged. Death can occur within five minutes of being stung. "These animals kill humans faster than any other venomous animal we know," Dr Seymour said.
Australian schoolgirl Rachael Shardlow who survived being stung by a deadly box jellyfish. Photograph: ABC TV/AFP/Getty Images Geoff Shardlow, the girl's father, said his daughter still has scars and some memory loss. "The greatest fear was actual brain damage [but] her cognitive skills and memory tests were all fine," he said. Doctors continue to monitor the girl's recovery.
Scientists do not fully understand why box jellyfish are so lethal. The venom usually causes death by causing respiratory or heart failure, though it also contains chemicals that destroy skin cells, causing large and deep patches of scar tissue.
The Australian Venom Research Unit at Melbourne University recommends strict supervision of children who are swimming in areas known to be at risk of box jellyfish, as small children are more vulnerable to the jellyfish stings.


I'm serious
For anyone who might be looking for a miracle, here is one for you! I am dumb-founded by this story. Especially considering the fact that she is but a 10 year old. She should be dead, for all intensive purposes.

Box Jelly Fish is the one and only reason I will never be diving the Great Barrier Reef or any reef in Australia for that matter. I have been on dives with whales, 30 sharks (not in cage), sting rays, scorpion fish, lion fish, anything dangerous, you name it and I’ve dived with it. But I draw the line at jelly fish. No way in hell would I even touch the water in that place!

I wonder if the doctors shouldn’t be looking to see what this girl has in her to have made her survive such a deadly incident. Perhaps there is something in her body or blood that has some sort of resistance to the venom of jelly fish. They should see if they can use it to create an anti-venom!


I'm serious
She absolutely has to have something in her to have survived this. A strong will to live is not enough to escape such an event. I’ve seen a documentary once where they were talking about this box jellyfish species that is the size of your thumbnail and about 10 times as toxic as the normal sized jellyfish. The sea is truly amazing, which is why I love it, but people should be more careful of where they let their children swim! If you know that is an area common to have jellyfish, FGS, don’t let your children near it.

We do have jellyfish in SA waters, but not the dangerous kind. We have tons of manowars though. I’ve been lashed on my back by one of those babies, and it stings like hellfire! Or what I imagine hellfire to feel like. I can only imagine that the sting of box jellyfish must be a thousand times worse. But then, at least it’s over in 5 minutes, when you die! Happy release, I’m sure!!!


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yep, I saw that documentary, too! In fact, it wasn't too long ago- I think last year sometime???

I know quite alot about natures creatures but I must admit I've never heard of manowars??? Had to google it just incase we called it something else. Is it in the jellyfish family? It's rather pretty. --->

Being from Massachusetts, I've only ever come across slightly poisonous and non-poisonous jellyfish, lobster (becareful of your toes!!!) and shark.
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I'm serious
Yeah, those are the ones. I think it was last year some time. Hard to believe such little things carry that much punch!

Manowars are also called Blue Bottles. I think they are distant family of jellyfish, but cannot say for sure. They definitely won't kill you, just burn like hell. I don't even think they can kill a baby. They are pretty, yes. They wash out on our beaches so much that you can sometimes not even walk on a beach without stepping on one! I prefer the name manowar though - very heavy metal-like!!! LOL