Media reports emerged last week on the death of a young man from a Box jellyfish sting he sustained while swimming near the remote north Qld community of Bamaga. The regional health service’s director of medical services said there had been ‘sightings of both box jellyfish and jellyfish that cause Irukandji syndrome’ so the advice is to wear a stinger suit or stay out of the water in risk areas. Read more
AEDES aegypti mosquitoes have made a fourth confirmed incursion into the Northern Territory (NT) since they were eliminated over 60 years ago - it is believed they must have arrived with heavy vehicle deliveries from Qld. The latest detection was well south of Darwin, in Tennant Creek, and further surveillance in the area is planned for later this month. Read more
A REPORT released last week by the AIHW estimated allergic reactions to bee stings were responsible for more than a quarter of the hospitalisations resulting from contact with a venomous animal or plant in 2017–18. Despite having ‘spiders, ticks, and 20 of the 25 most venomous snakes in the world … bees and wasps [were responsible] for 12 of the 19 deaths related to venomous bites and stings’. Hospitalisation rates for all venomous bites and stings by state/territory were highest for the NT (31 cases per 100,000 population) but very remote areas scored higher (49 cases per 100,000). Also on the subject of allergic reactions to insect stings/bites, health authorities in Western Australia have warned that recent heavy rains have led to a surge in March fly numbers in the Gascoyne and Pilbara (especially Karratha and the Shire of Ashburton), with some reports of anaphylactic reactions to the bites. Read more
Advice for travellers
The jellyfish are present in our seas all year round but the risk is higher during peak season, which in the Top End coincides with the wet season from around October/ November until May. The season is usually a little shorter further south. Read more about venomous marine creatures.
Before you travel, call Travelvax Australia’s telephone advisory service on 1300 360 164 (toll-free from landlines) for country-specific advice and information. You can also make an appointment at your nearest Travelvax clinic to obtain vaccinations, medication to prevent or treat illness, and accessories for your journey.