Thousands of Queensland beachgoers stung — Bluebottle jellyfish

Rodiano Bonacci
Gennaio 8, 2019

Thousands of people were stung by highly venomous jellyfish in north-eastern Australia over the weekend, forcing authorities to close several beaches.

Surf Life Saving Queensland said that if stung, remove stingers, take a very hot shower and apply ice.

No fatalities have been confirmed and for most people the stings are harmless - albeit painful - but they can cause problems for those with allergies, as well as the young and the elderly. More than 18,000 stings were recorded in Queensland in December, three times more cases than a year ago over the same period.

The official word from one expert: A "hell of a lot" of people have been stung by jellyfish lately on Queensland's Gold and Sunshine coasts in Australia.

Bluebottle jellyfish colonies appear like blue-tinged sacs which measure up to 15cm (6 inches) long.

Bluebottle stings are a frequent occurrence and it is not uncommon to hear howls of pain from changing rooms along Australia's eastern beaches during the southern hemisphere's summer.

The BBC reports that more than 2,600 people were treated over the weekend, while about 13,000 stings were reported over the past week. Cases of death have been recorded, but scientists say they are extremely rare.

The jellyfish activity forced the closure of busy beaches.

Portuguese man o' war are not uncommon in the region but the sheer number of stings over the weekend shocked authorities.

Bluebottles have inundated Queensland beaches.

Queensland lifeguards have described the situation as "epidemic" and warn people to refrain from even walking along the coastline, let alone going for a swim.

The jellyfish are a common feature along the Australian east coast, but Lisa-Ann Gershwin, from the Australian Marine Stinger Advisory Services said a combination of strong winds and heat had caused the record numbers.

The species is most commonly found in deeper seas, but can be moved easily because it has a "sail" crest on its back.

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