Cone snail sting on tourist causes respiratory failure in Whitsunday Island

Published on : Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Cone snailCone snails on Whitsunday Island off north Queensland have become hazardous for tourists. A crew member on a tourist boat was stung by a cone snail. The sting caused respiratory problems as the system began shutting down.


Most often people like to walk bare foot in the shallow water. So did the 25 year old in the waters of the Whitehaven Beach when the cone snail’s harpoon pierced his skin with a sting.


The man was flown to the hospital almost immediately by a helicopter as he was brought onshore by an inflatable boat.


The cone snail’s venom can cause severe pain and apart from the pain it can cause muscular paralysis, vision impairment, and respiratory failure and can be fatal.


Very few tourists know about the effects of the snail. It has a proboscis which hangs out to attract fishes. The end of the proboscis has a hollow tooth through which the venom is ejected. As little as two milligrams of venom could prove to be fatal for a 70 kilogram adult.

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