Woman in intensive care after being bitten by a rare warship off the coast of Sicily

A woman has been admitted to an intensive care unit in Sicily after she passed out from what was likely a bite from a Portuguese warship, a marine protozoan known for its long, venomous antennae.

The chief doctor of the San Marco hospital in Catania said the woman was suffering from exhaustion, difficulty breathing and severe cardiac arrhythmia – all symptoms were caused by a dangerous sea creature.

Quote from Italy Newspaper “Republic”Benedetta Stancanelli said that “injuries to the back and legs suggest it may indeed be a bite from a Portuguese warship.”

The incident occurred while the victim was swimming off the Cyclopean Islands, a few kilometers off the Sicily mainland.

The woman, who reportedly had comorbidities, was taken to intensive care hours after she collapsed after a violent collision.

What is a Portuguese warship?

Named after 18th-century Portuguese warships, the Portuguese warship, or simply warship (Physalia physalis), is a venomous marine predator classified as “dangerous” by the World Health Organization. recommendations for a safe recreational water environment.

Although it is rarely fatal – about three deaths are attributed to a sea creature – its bite is excruciatingly painful and venomous.

Its tentacles can reach up to 30 meters and cause symptoms ranging from “local skin necrosis to neurological and cardiorespiratory problems” leading to death. researchers say.

Although it looks a lot like a jellyfish, it is not. It “a colony of several small individual organisms with specialized jobs“. He does not swim, but uses the wind and the current.

How common is it in the Mediterranean?

Experts say sightings in the Mediterranean have risen in recent years, sometimes dramatically. But they believe the increase in sightings may be due to advances in research.

In 2010, a woman in Sardinia died of anaphylactic shock, believed to be caused by her tentacles. And again a woman seemed to suffer from underlying conditions.

What to do if it stung you?

Soak the affected areas in hot water (42˚C), The Australian government is proposingand apply cold compresses and anesthetic cream. Damage cannot be treated with vinegar, and tentacles should only be removed with tweezers or a gloved hand.