Florida Child Airlifted to the Hospital After Being Stabbed in the Chest by a Catfish

Firefighters who responded to the scene found a catfish barb approximately 1 to 1.5 inches deep "in the child's chest," the Pasco County Fire Rescue said

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A child is in a Florida hospital after being punctured in the chest by a catfish, according to officials.

Pasco County Fire Rescue said via Facebook that the child's mother was taking him or her to the hospital for treatment when the child "experienced difficulty breathing and pulled over on US-19 to call for help."

Firefighters later arrived and determined the incident was a "trauma alert after evaluating the catfish barb lodged approximately 1-1.5 inches in the child's chest," the fire department added. The child was airlifted to St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa.

It is not clear how the child — who was not identified was stabbed by the catfish, Corey Dierdorff, a spokesperson for Pasco County Fire Rescue, told Tampa Bay Times. He added that the incident is the first of its kind that he has seen.

"I know they get cut and stuff by them a lot, but I've never heard of anybody getting stabbed in the chest by one of them," Dierdorff told the publication.

Speaking to the presence of poisonous catfish in Florida, Dierdorff told CBS affiliate WTSP, "That's another reason they transported in the way that they did. They didn't know if this was a venomous catfish or not."

The child's age and gender was not disclosed but Dierdorff said he or she is younger than 10, per FOX29.

It's not clear how badly the child was hurt.

Dierdorff did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

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Per the Florida Department of Health, catfish have poison in the spines on their back and in their side fins, not in their "whiskers."

"Stings usually occur on people's hands and feet when they lose their grip on the fish while removing a hook," the department said on its website. The venomous spines are so tough they can pierce through a shoe's sole.

"Stings are painful and cause swelling, numbness, and sometimes fainting or reduced heart rate," it added.

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