(CNN) — A 17-year-old boy has died a week after being stung by a box jellyfish on a beach in Queensland, Australia.
The teenager was swimming on Feb. 22 near Bamaga, at the tip of the Cape York Peninsula, when he was stung, CNN affiliate 7News reported. He was taken to a hospital in Townsville, 600 miles away, and died on Monday, March 1, police said.
Local media have reported that it is thought to be the first death from a box jellyfish sting in 14 years.
Queensland Police confirmed to CNN on Thursday that they were preparing a report for the coroner following the sudden death of the boy.
Named for their squared-off body shape, box jellyfish have tentacles covered in small, poison-loaded darts, known as nematocysts.
There are about 50 species of box jellyfish, but only a few contain venom which can prove lethal to people — including the suspected culprit in this case, the Australian box jellyfish, Chironex fleckeri. It is considered to be the most venomous marine animal, according to the National Ocean Service.
The Australian box jellyfish can reach up to 1 foot in diameter and its tentacles are up to 10 feet long.
Large box jellyfish such as Chironex have caused more than 70 fatalities in Australia, according to Queensland Health, which issued a warning following the incident. It said swimmers should not enter the waters off northern Australia without a wetsuit or lycra suit.
It listed the symptoms of Irukandji syndrome, the potentially fatal reaction to a sting that is sometimes initially no more painful than a mosquito bite. Within about 30 minutes, victims begin experiencing extreme pain, muscle spasms, dizziness, difficulty breathing, nausea and anxiety.
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