Stonefish blend in perfectly with their surroundings and are hard to spot. The pain from their venomous spines can be excruciating.
There have been 11 stonefish poisoning cases reported at the Rarotonga Hospital since January 18 this year. This was confirmed by the outgoing director of hospital health services, Dr Yin Yin May.
May also confirmed that two boys were taken to the hospital on Thursday and
there was no systemic effect apart from pain on their wound site. She also
added that unfortunately there is no anti-venom provided at the hospital.
parent of one of the boys stung by the stonefish at Avarua Harbour, near Trader
Jacks, said the two boys were getting better.
Postrzygacz has called on the public to keep children away from the Avarua
Harbour area for the time being.
said all he knew was the basic first-aid. He said stonefish venom is
protein-based, so putting a mixture of white vinegar and the hottest water the
victim can handle on the affected area helps ease off the pain a little bit.
first-aid includes administration of anti-venom which can be life-saving in
serious cases. Unfortunately it is not available in Rarotonga … Kids are always
told never to step on the rocks and coral because stonefish are virtually
impossible to distinguish from them. “
added: “This accident happened in the shallow water with sandy bottom but the
murky water made it impossible to see what’s under the surface. Avarua harbour
is a very popular location for swimmers, paddlers and other water sport
enthusiasts, so it’s hard to keep us all away from there.”
to a previous article from the Ministry of Marine Resources, stonefish inhabit
the shallow tropical marine waters of the Pacific and are common in the lagoon
around Rarotonga. They use camouflage to hide among coral reefs near rocks or
lie dormant in the mud and sand.
has been one case each reported from January, except two cases reported in July
and this month so far.