Never mind sharks, crocodiles and drop bears, it seems Australia has a new and dangerous predator to watch out for...centipedes.
When two patients were transferred to Longreach hospital on Wednesday with suspected snake bite within 30 minutes of each other, it was unremarkable news though seemed the season for the slippery serpents had started early.
Paramedics transported a female in her 40s to Longreach Hospital in a stable condition following reports of a snake bite at private address in Longreach at 7.53pm while 27km away at Ilfracombe paramedics also transported one patient in a stable condition to Longreach Hospital following reports of a snake bite at a location off Main Avenue at 8.20pm.
But then it turned out that neither culprit was a snake but instead, wait for it, a centipede.
This is not as weird as it sounds.
A 2004 study has shown that centipede bites in Australia are capable of causing stinging pain, sometimes severe
The study identified 14 cases from three different genera Scolopendra (5), Cormocephalus (6), and Ethmostigmus (3).
Of these 14 bites, 13 occurred distally (hands or feet). Pain occurred in all 14 cases and was severe in seven patients with red marks occurred in 53%, swelling/raised area in 43%, and itchiness in 14%.
Treatment consisted of supportive measures including ice packs and simple analgesia, and 4 patients reported pain relief after immersing the bite area in hot water.
The ones to watch out for are Ethmostigmus (giant centipede) and Scolopendra which caused more severe effects.
It is not known which type of centipede was responsible for the two Longreach cases.
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