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Med J Aust. 1986 Dec 1-15;145(11-12):569, 572-4.

Further understanding of, and a new treatment for, "Irukandji" (Carukia barnesi) stings.


A brief analysis is presented of the large recorded numbers of swimmers who have been stung by the "Irukandji" (Carukia barnesi) jellyfish during the 1985-1986 summer season in north Queensland, and the results are discussed. Many of the victims may suffer from symptoms of overstimulation of the sympathetic system, and hypertension is shown to be another complication of this syndrome. This hypertension seems to respond well to intravenously-administered phentolamine, an alpha-adrenergic receptor blocking drug. Phentolamine also reduces the excessive shaking and sweating that appears to be part of the "Irukandji syndrome". Diazepam relieves the anxiety which is part of the syndrome, but antihistamine agents and hydrocortisone seem to have no beneficial effect.

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