Thursday, 24 January, 2019

Jellyfish Apocalypse Hits QLD With More Than 20K Bluebottle Stings Since Dec

German tourists Mimi Wiebeling and Pauline Lapetite carry surfboards as they walk into the surf wearing Christmas hats at Sydney's Bondi Beach on Christmas Day in Australia REUTERS David Gray High Temps Down Under Australia Swelters in Record Breaking Heat Wave
Sandra Phillips | 08 January, 2019, 22:27

Tourists and even locals on Australian beaches collectively shared painful experiences as over 2,500 people were reportedly stung by jellyfishes in what authorities are locally calling a "jellyfish" epidemic.

More than 5000 people were stung by bluebottles on Queensland's Gold and Sunshine coasts in a single weekend. And between December 1 and January 7, 22,282 people were stung across Queensland-compared to 6,831 during that same period the year prior. The association are warning beach goers to be extra vigilant in the sea and perhaps stay out of the water altogether, especially children or people who are allergic.

Surf Life Saving duty officer Jeremy Sturges said: "I have never seen anything like this-ever". Several of those stung suffered anaphylactic shock.

Nearly 1000 people were hurt in a matter of hours on Sunday afternoon, with 476 bluebottle stings treated on the Gold Coast and 461 on the Sunshine Coast.

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

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Unusually strong northeasterly swell conditions pushed the bluebottles onshore and they are clumped in their thousands along the shoreline.

The jellyfish activity forced the closure of busy beaches.

"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".

SLSQ warned beach goers not to pick up the jellyfish stranded on the tide lines and if stung, advised people to take a very hot shower and apply ice. 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.

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.

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