Thousands of Beachgoers Stung in Bluebottle Jellyfish Ambush

08 January, 2019, 22:24 | Author: Sherry Houston
  • A bluebottle jellyfish washed-up on Surfer's Paradise beach

Several Australian beaches have closed down amid a unsafe invasion of highly venomous jellyfish that have stung more than 3,000 people in just a few days.

Over the weekend alone, more than 5,000 people were stung as weather drove an armada of bluebottle jellyfish toward shore, the Guardian reports.

Since the start of December, there have been more than 18,000 stings recorded in Queensland, compared with 6,000 for the same time a year ago.

Labelled an "invasion" by local media, the bluebottles have stung both swimmers in shallow water and those who accidentally trod on the creatures while walking on the sand.

Surf Life Saving Queensland said on Saturday a "wall of bluebottles" was approaching Rainbow Beach, prompting a closure.

Thousands were treated by lifesavers and several people reportedly suffered anaphylactic shock and were treated by paramedics. The beaches were forced to be shut down over the weekend to tackle the situation. More recently, a woman swimming off a beach near Sardinia died following a bluebottle sting.

Nearly a thousand people fell foul of marine stingers in a matter of hours on Sunday afternoon, with 476 treated on the Gold Coast and 461 on the Sunshine Coast.

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"The numbers I have seen published are 25,000 to 45,000 per year for the whole of Australia", Dr Gershwin said.

"When you look at a bluebottle, and you see the bubble and the blue fringes and the long blue tentacles, that is actually a colony, that is not an individual", he said.

The epicentre has been the popular beaches on the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast in the state of Queensland, but beaches in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania have also been affected.

He said that those stung should remove the stingers, take a very hot shower and to apply ice to their wounds.

Most of the encounters happened in the popular Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast regions.

Dr Gershwin said a bluebottle's crest acted like a sail and they were pushed along by strong winds.

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