Survivor Langkawi Contestant Stung by Irukandji

A Swedish production of Survivor, the very-long-running TV series of marooned modern-day mercenaries, has been shutdown at the Langkawi beach site of a severe though non fatal box jellyfish sting.

A female contestant on the series was stung when a large number of Irukandji jellyfish entered the beach area during some inclement weather. Highlighted in the Langkawi Gazette (, the victim was stung on the leg and showed the classic symptoms of Irukandji Syndrome including extreme pain with muscle cramps, aching, sweating, nausea and excrutiating skin. A doctor who attended the patient believes that morphine would have been used if available.

Days later the victim is still suffering. The Syndrome is meant to cause further severe pain at around the 2 week mark and many victims speak of ongoing aches and pains for years to come.

There have been instances of Irukandji Syndrome reported in the SE Asia region though general consensus is that local authorities know nothing of it, medical facilities cannot diagnose it and no-one knows how to treat it. It is believed that victims are usually treated for viruses and other ailments then discharged without anyone raising an eyebrow.

This from Wikipedia: "Irukandji syndrome includes an array of systemic symptoms including severe headache, backache, muscle pains, chest and abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, sweating, anxiety, hypertension, tachycardia and pulmonary edema. One unusual symptom associated with Irukandji syndrome is a feeling of "impending doom". Patients have been reported as being so certain that they are going to die that they beg their doctors to kill them to get it over with. Symptoms generally abate in 4 to 30 hours, but may take up to two weeks to resolve completely....The severity of the pain from an Irukandji jellyfish sting is apparent in the 2005 Discovery Channel documentary Killer Jellyfish about Carukia barnesi, when two Australian researchers (Jamie Seymour and Teresa Carrette) are stung. Even under the "maximum dose of morphine," Teresa remarked that she "wished she could rip her skin off," and is later seen writhing uncontrollably from the pain while lying on her hospital bed."

Note that the Langkawi Irukandji was not tiny like Carukia barnesi but another bigger unidentified species.

Perhaps when celebrating the survival of the Survivor victim, the cast and crew could dress up in their finest stinger suits and crack a few bottles of vinegar - but that would look silly not macho and sexy, wouldn't it.

Wear suits and carry vinegar! The tribe has spoken.


  1. Hi;
    Please be consistent on your blog with the reports from the langkawi-gazette website.

    The langkawi-gazette website reported that it was a he and not a she.

    The gazette website also reported this:
    "Dr. Lisa-Ann Gershwin (the world's premier jellyfish taxonomist who identifies these things regularly) saw images of the attacker and is convinced it is a 'Irukandji', but is unsure without seeing the specimen first as to what type of 'Irukandji' it is. "

    It read as "... is UNSURE ". Please do not report as "...a large number of Irukandji jellyfish entered the beach area..." when the word UNSURE is used.

  2. Thanks for pointing out the perceived inconsistencies within my blog. Feel free to offer any praise for the rest of the article excluding the 2 minor points you raise.
    I suggest you check with the Gazette on matters of consistency because my information regarding the points you mention came from those working on the production.
    While on the subject can I say that I think your blog WChinner is wonderful. It is a credit to you to adress significant issues of the environment and biodiversity and a pleasure to discover from afar. A genuine asset for Langkawi.
    On the other hand, I find your article on jellyfish disturbing. You seem to have swallowed whatever rubbish the authorities have thrown at you and printed their view without question. Perhaps there is political influence that I am unaware of. To say that 'they were quick to rule out the existence of Box Jellyfish and the Portuguese-man-of-war in the waters of Langkawi.' is madness, lunacy, hypocricy and irresponsability of the lowest kind. Who the hell are they trying to kid? Is it a decree of Dr Mahathir to ban all box jellyfish from his pet island? Get a grip Langkawi!!!! With all due respect WChinner perhaps you can be the one to take up the cause to reveal the truth? You appear to be someone concerned not only for Langkawi but for getting facts right. Someone must because the longer the authorities continue lying to the public and lying to the hospitality and tourism industries, the higher the chance that someone will get killed.

  3. Hi BlogBoxie;
    FYI, Gazette must be careful on what is being published too... the website almost lost its license for "speaking out". So, there you are right... it is political influence.

    My recent blog on the jellyfish is just a blog and it is not an article at all. What i had written was based on what happened during the talk. You may say that i had swallowed whatever rubbish given by the authorities. In fact, the talk was not about their "views" on the recent cases. The purpose of the talk was meant to be treatment and management. I'm not in a position to question these medical officers because I am not a marine biologist or even a cnidaria specialist. And they are not in a position to talk about what species out there because they were just medical officers. I am sure if you were there in the talk, you would have left the room in disgust and you would definitely say it is totally rubbish. It is obviously a hidden agenda there when they were quick to rule out the existence of those jellyfishes. That's why i used these words "...quick to rule out..."

    You and i know that the authorities are classifying the information. However, are there any experts in this field to come help us (the locals) to get the evidence?

    As you know, media and bloggers can say whatever they want. I tend to listen to both side of the story.

    Btw, have you read this yet?


  4. WChinner, I had not read the article you have linked and I wish I had before. You are certainly a voice on Langkawi that seems to have a good understanding of the issue and need to get to the bottom of it with the best interests of Langkawi, locals and visitors in mind. Most hits on this blog and there are a lot are directed to Langkawi - word gets around and next thing you know. Another serious sting at Langkawi could be disasterous for all. I have no doubt that Malaysia will act and commence proper investigations and research into the box jellyfish. Who knows when, but I expect it will be sooner rather than later. In the meantime, your action WChinner will go a long way in keeping the subject alive - so to speak! Good luck.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts