Friday, October 17, 2008

Thai government about to wake up regarding Box Jelly fish

Thai government about to wake up regarding Box Jelly fish

Which is a good thing! After my recent post regarding helping DAN with their Jellyfish investigation and my original report regarding a young boy who survived a jelly fish encounter in Koh Mak December last year and a girl that succumbed from an encounter in Koh Lanta, it seems now that efforts have paid off and the Thai government is taking action. Interestingly enough, the story about the young boy is the most visited post on my blog.

Here's an article from the Bangkok Post, posted today by Apinya Wipatayotin;

"The discovery of a box jellyfish _ one of the most poisonous in the world _ in Thai waters has prompted the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to set up a team to study its origin and behaviour to prevent attacks. Somchai Bussarawit, the chief of the museum and aquarium at the Phuket Marine Biological Centre, said there has never been any reports of this type of box jellyfish being found in Thai waters before.

''We are not sure whether it is a primitive species living here or a foreign species. We have no information. That is why we have to set up a team to investigate it,'' he said. Experts in Australia and Japan would be asked to assist the study.

There are two families of jellyfish normally found in Thai waters _ the Chirodropidae and the Carybdeidae, which is the more poisonous of the two.

So far two deaths have been attributed to the jellyfish. The first case happened in 2002 at Koh Phangan in Surat Thani province and the latest in April at Koh Lanta in Krabi province.

The decision to study the box jellyfish came after the son of an Australian journalist was stung while swimming at Koh Mak in Trat province early this year.

The injured Australian returned to Thailand and alerted the Public Health and Tourism and Sports ministries about box jellyfish found in Thailand. He realised there were no measures or knowledge about first-aid for people stung by box jellyfish.

''I hope the study will generate prevention and caution with the public. I don't want to disturb the tourism sector, but people should know the facts and know how to make themselves safe,'' Mr Somchai said.

''At least first-aid treatment must be widely publicised to tourists and local people. Also, there should be warning signs to increase people's levels of awareness,'' he said.

Vinegar is the best solution to reduce the pain from a jellyfish sting before the victim is sent to hospital, he said. Water should not be used as it only increases the pain.

Resorts and hotels should have vinegar in their emergency kits, he suggested."

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