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A Florida child was rushed to hospital on Monday after being stabbed in the chest by a catfish, officials say.

On the way to the hospital with the mother, the child experienced difficulty in breathing, prompting ta mom to stop on “US-19 to call for help”, according to a Facebook post of Pasco County Fire Rescue.

Firefighters responded to the call, listing the child as a trauma alert after assessing that the catfish barb was “lodged approximately 1 to 1.5 inches in the child’s chest”.

The child was airlifted to St. Joseph Hospital in Tampa.

Corey Dierdorff, spokesperson for Pasco County Fire Rescue, said Tampa Bay Weather it was not known if the catfish were venomous. “That’s another reason why they hauled the way they did,” he said.

Dierdorff also noted that it was unclear how the child was stabbed by the catfish, calling the incident “strange”.

“I’ve never heard of anything like it,” he said. “You hear of a fisherman who might be cut by a beard or hit in the back of the leg and get an infection, but never heard of a penetrating chest.”

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission recently warned anglers about Hardhead Catfish and Gafftopsail Catfish, which are commonly found in Southwest Florida. The species tends to live on beaches, canals, mangroves, under docks, and other areas with brackish water.

Catfish carry poison in the spines of their dorsal and side fins, not their “whiskers,” and their stings can cause swelling, numbness, fainting, or a reduced heart rate, according to the Florida Department of Health.



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