Why box jellyfish attack could have killed Anne

Posted at 04/04/2014 3:27 AM | Updated as of 04/04/2014 5:44 PM

MANILA - "I'm lucky to be alive!"

These were Anne Curtis' words after sustaining only rashes from a jellyfish attack that could have been fatal.

The 29-year-old actress was filming scenes for "Dyesebel" in Batangas when box jellyfish, considered as one of the world's most poisonous creatures, stung her on Wednesday night.

"Dyesebel" producer Dreamscape Entertainment Television, in a statement, said Curtis was in agony from the sting and had to be brought to different hospitals in San Juan and Lipa in Batangas, before finally being confined at St. Luke's Medical Center in Bonifacio Global City on Thursday.

ABS-CBN News was later given photos of Curtis covered with rashes from the box jellyfish sting.

Dr. Wency Kiat, who is attending to Curtis, said in a statement that the actress is "doing fine" but should continue taking medications for pain.

Other victims of box jellyfish attacks have not been as lucky.

In the Philippines, around 20 to 40 people die from stings by box jellyfish every year, according to the United States National Science Foundation (NSF). The same NSF report added that a person stung by box jellyfish may be dead within three minutes.

British newspaper "The Telegraph" in 2010 reported a box jellyfish attack on 10-year-old Rachael Shardlow, who fell unconscious after getting stung while swimming in Australia.

A box jellyfish at Bakoven Rock in 2005. Photo by Peter Southwood / Wikimedia Commons

"The venom of the box jellyfish is so overpoweringly painful that victims often go in shock and drown or die of heart failure before reaching shore," the report read.

"There is no effective antivenom for its sting, which attacks the heart, nervous system and skin, inducing shooting muscle pain, vomiting and a rapid rise in blood pressure."

Despite the extent of the stings -- her doctors noted the amount of burn-like contact of the tentacles -- Shardlow "luckily" survived. The report said she was able to go home after six weeks of treatment.