Jellyfish Stings On Vietnam's Phu Quoc

Vietnam has 3,260 kilometres of coastline and can lay claim to having some of the region's most beautiful beaches, notably the idyllic tropical paradise of Phu Quoc. Lying closer to the Cambodian mainland than its Socialist Motherland, Phu Quoc is a haven for travellers. But this Gulf of Thailand island, as appears to be the case, also has its share of jellyfish.

This blog has over the years received little information about Vietnam and Phu Quoc. According to various websites such as Tripadvisor, visitors have expressed some concerns about jellyfish when on Phu Quoc. This comes as no surprise considering its geography. Recently some stories have emerged that confirm the existence of stinging jellyfish, though to what extent they are a problem remains unclear.

Three reported jellyfish stings show that caution needs to be taken. There's no need to ring alarm bells as there's no evidence of serious ongoing problems and no word as yet from authorities. These could be isolated stings or part of something more widespread. The risk is unknown. Time will tell.

One of these stings received by a young girl is particularly concerning. The whip-like linear lesions on her ankle that show laddered scarring appear typical of a box jellyfish. The animal wasn't sighted. She suffered from fever post-sting which is a symptom associated with single-tentacle box jellyfish stings.

The scars left by these stings are not your average itchy reaction to rubbing against a bit of blubber. They are serious. The species responsible are not to be taken lightly. Phu Quoc is in the box jellyfish firing line that extends down the Thai and Cambodian coasts. Again, there is no substantial evidence to confirm this though a picture can speak a thousand words.

The bottom line is to take care. Be vigilant. Look after yourself and any loved ones when in the water. It's a wilderness out there. Lycra stinger suits offer 100% protection from all stinging animals (and UV rays) including box jellyfish. Keeping a bottle of vinegar handy is advised as the only way to neutralise box jellyfish tentacles' stinging capacity is to immediately wash the sting area with liberal amounts of vinegar.    


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