Stingray bites land 12 Ganpati devotees in hospital

Sep 19, 2013, 23:17 IST | Anuradha Varanasi

At least 12 devotees who went to participate in Ganesh immersion suffered injuries due to stingray bites and were admitted to the state-run Nair Hospital for treatment on Wednesday.

Hospital authorities said that unlike the bites suffered by revellers on the first day of immersion, the bites on the last day of Ganesh Chaturthi were not as serious and have been classified as “unknown fish bites”.

“The bites were mainly on the soles and the ankles and were not as serious as those seen on the first day of immersion. Those were said to bites of stingrays and jellyfish but this time the type of fish that has bitten people is yet to be identified. But there were no serious cases. All the twelve people were treated in the hospital. They were kept under observation for an hour or so and then were discharged as they were all stable,” said Dr Ramesh Bharmal, Medical Superintendent, Nair Hospital.

Dr. VD Deshmukh, scientist-in-charge, Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) asserted that the bites had been caused by stingrays, but weren’t as serious due ot the difference in the size of the fish.

“The bites suffered by people on Wednesday were by stingrays. The injuries were less serious than last time because the stingrays were smaller this time. Last time the people were bitten by stingrays measuring 20 to 30 cms in diameter, while this time the stingrays were around 10cms in diameter. The species were the same, only the size varied,” said Dr. Deshmukh.

The CMFRI had conducted a beach survey as well as a water survey using boats to check for the presence of stingray and jellyfish in the waters on Wednesday from 7.30am to 12 in the noon and submitted a report to the BMC.

“We did a survey of the entire stretch from Malabar Hill to Cuffe Parade for stingrays and jellyfish. We covered immersions sites like Versova Juhu, Dadar and Girgaum Chowpatty. In our boat survey conducted along with Central Institute of Fisheries Education, we found twelve stingrays in our nets. So we estimated that there would be around 6000 to 7000 stingrays in the entire stretch and that was a huge number. So we immediately informed the BMC officials about it. Fortunately, we did not find any jellyfish. Jellyfish is a bigger concern as they are more dangerous than stingrays. Jellyfish are neuro toxic and can have harmful effects on people when bitten by them,” Dr. Deshmukh.

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