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Jellyfish stings on Langkawi Island, Malaysia.

INTRODUCTION: Jellyfish stings are the most frequently reported marine animal envenomation worldwide. However, data on jellyfish sting from Malaysia remains obscure due to inadequate research.

METHODS: We investigated the epidemiology, clinical features and treatment of patients presenting at the emergency department of Langkawi Hospital between January 2012 and December 2014. Secondary data on the nature of the incident, patient demographics, clinical presentation, and treatment were retrieved from the patients' medical records. Descriptive statistics were presented for all patient variables.

RESULTS: A total of 759 patients presented with jellyfish stings during the 3-year study period, with highest number of visits in July, October, November, and December. The mean patient age was 26.7 years (SD: 12.14), 59.4% were men, 68.1% were foreigners or international tourists, and 40.4% were stung between 12.00 p.m. and 6:59 p.m. At least 90 patients presented with mild Irukandji or Irukandji-like syndromes. Most of the jellyfish stings occurred at Chenang Beach (590 reported cases), followed by Tengah Beach and Kok Beach. Most patients were treated symptomatically, and no deaths following a jellyfish sting was reported during the study period.

CONCLUSION: There is a need for public health interventions for both local and international tourists who visit Langkawi Island. Preventive steps and education on initial treatment at the incident site could elevate public awareness and decrease the adverse effects of jellyfish stings.

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