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Fire coral sting - Marine Exposures
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Fire coral sting - Marine Exposures

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Contributors: Robert Norris MD, Joanne Feldman MD, MS
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Synopsis

Fire corals (Millepora) are not true reef building corals but rather small animals with bright yellow-green to brown skeletal coverings that can be razor-sharp. The calcium carbonate exoskeleton is full of tiny pores through which tentacles covered with stinging cells (nematocysts) project. They grow in different sizes and shapes and are found in shallow tropical and subtropical waters.

When a victim brushes against the projecting tentacles, the nematocysts fire and inject venom causing immediate burning or stinging pain. Rubbing the area will worsen the envenomation and subsequent pain. The area of contact may develop pinpoint red lesions. Edema, blistering, and urticaria are common. The blisters may develop into pustules. Resolution of lesions may take 3–7 days without treatment. Hyperpigmentation of the affected area may last 4–8 weeks.

Nausea and vomiting have been reported but are not common.

Codes

ICD10CM:
T63.691A – Toxic effect of contact with other venomous marine animals, accidental (unintentional), initial encounter

SNOMEDCT:
403157006 – Fire coral dermatitis

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Last Updated: 01/21/2015
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Fire coral sting - Marine Exposures
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Fire coral sting : Burning skin sensation, Painful skin lesions, Reef contact injury
Clinical image of Fire coral sting
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