Malaysia, Sabah: Jellyfish invasion at Tanjung Aru

MUGUNTAN VANAR The Star 31 Jan 16;

KOTA KINABALU: The jellyfish invasion at the popular Tanjung Aru beach is showing no sign of abating.

A nine-year-old girl became the latest victim to be stung by jellyfish, bringing the total known cases to 22 this month.

Marshada Shirlin was stung on her right hand and leg by what is believed to be the more poisonous box jellyfish.

She was immediately taken out of the water by lifeguards from the Department of Civil Defence who were alerted by the young girl’s screams for help at about 10.30am yesterday.

One of the lifeguards, Thomas Oman, said after treating her with vinegar, her family then took her to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital where she was given outpatient treatment.

Sabah Fisheries Department has discovered two species so far after sending a team of experts from the Likas Fisheries Centre on Jan 20 to investigate reports.

One of the species was identified as the chironomid box jellyfish (chorpsalmus quadrigatus) locally known as obor-obor api, which is highly venomous, neurotoxic and cardiotoxic.

The other is locally known as obor-obor pasir, a black spotted jellyfish similar to the Catostylus townsendi species.

Stings from their tentacles can cause itch and/or allergic reactions upon contact with skin, leading to inflammation and swelling on the affected part of the victim.

The jellyfish season is expected to persist at least until March due to the El Nino.

It is believed that many people could have been stung but did not go to the authorities after self-treatment by applying vinegar or lime on the affected part.

Girl stung by poisonous jellyfish at Tanjung Aru beach
MUGUNTAN VANAR The Star 30 Jan 16;

KOTA KINABALU: A nine-year-old girl became the latest victim of a jellyfish sting at the popular Tanjung Aru beach here Saturday, bringing the total reported cases to 22 so far this month.

Marshada Shirlin was heard screaming for help at about 10.30am after being stung on the right hand and leg by what is believed to be a poisonous type of box jellyfish, which was immediately removed by Department of Civil Defence lifeguards.

One of the lifeguards Thomas Oman said they treated Marshada with vinegar before the family took her to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and was given outpatient treatment.

On Jan 20, the Sabah Fisheries Department sent a team of experts from the Likas Fisheries Centre to investigate reports of jellyfish sting incidents and found two species.

One of the species was identified as the chironomid box jellyfish (Chorpsalmus quadrigatus) locally known as “obor-obor api” known to be highly venomous and are neurotoxic, cardiotoxic and dermatonecrotic.

The other species locally known as “obor-obor pasir” is a black spotted jellyfish similar to the Catostylus townsendi species.

Stings from their tentacles can cause itchiness and/or allergic reactions upon contact, inflammation in the skin and swelling.

The jellyfish season is expected to persist throughout January to March this year due to the current El Nino season.


Stinging threat for beachgoers
MUGUNTAN VANAR The Star 2 Feb 16;

KOTA KINABALU: Many are staying away from the waters of the popular Tanjung Aru beach here following reports of a jellyfish infestation due to the current dry spell triggered by El Nino.

The beach, which usually draws large crowds on the weekends, has seen few people heading into the water recently. Most of those who turn up only have picnics by the shore.

Groups of picnickers can be observed along the beach, although only a few people wade in the shallow waters and even fewer swim in the sea.

Local picnicker Emanuel, who turned up with his two children, aged three and five, said he wanted his children to enjoy themselves at the beach but would not allow them into the water.

As of Jan 29, some 22 people have suffered jellyfish stings, according to Civil Defence lifeguards who gave immediate treatment to the victims. Some of them were sent to the hospital.

There have been no reports of any fatalities.

Following these incidents, the Sabah Fisheries Department’s experts from the Likas Fisheries Research Centre found two types of species – the chironomid box jellyfish (chorpsalmus quadrigatus), locally known as obor-obor api, and the catostylus townsendi species or obor-obor pasir – in the waters off Tanjung Aru beach.

Obor-obor api is known to be highly venomous and can cause severe skin irritation and affect the nervous sytem, among others, while obor-obor pasir can cause skin inflammation and swelling.

The department said the jellyfish season could persist till next month due to El Nino, which will likely end by late next month or early April.


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