Thousands Stung by Jellyfish on Beaches in Australia

Gwen Vasquez
January 8, 2019

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.

Multiple beaches in eastern Australia have been closed because of an increase in jellyfish stings, authorities said on Monday. More than 18,000 stings were recorded in Queensland in December, three times more cases than previous year over the same period.

Australian environmental activists say that their own government shares some of the blame, pointing at the lack of a co-ordinated effort to target plastic pollution in the waters around the Australian coastline, for example.

Coastguard association Surf Life Saving said a "whopping" 3,595 people had suffered painful burns after encounters with the creatures, also known as bluebottles for their transparent bluish appearance.

Unusually strong northeasterly swell conditions pushed the bluebottles onshore.

Surf Life Saving Queensland issued a "major bluebottle warning" and a spokesperson said that if stung, remove stingers, take a very hot shower and apply ice.

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Fortunately, most of the stings were caused by so-called bluebottle colonies, which are not life threatening.

They are most prevalent in sub-tropical regions but sometimes turn up en masse in North Queensland.

Bluebottle jellyfish washed up on Sidmouth beach in Devon, England in this illustrative image.

"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".

The influx of jellyfish has been described as an "invasion" by local media in Queensland. Dr Lisa-Ann Gershwin, a jellyfish expert from Australian Marine Stinger Advisory Services, said that such gathering of jellyfish in large is not quite unusual and mostly due to the winds.

Other reports by LeisureTravelAid

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