Invasion of the jellyfish: 13,000 beach goers stung in just one week

Invasion of the jellyfish: 13,000 beach goers stung in just one week

Australia Closes Queensland Beaches Over Thousands of People Stung by Jellyfish

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.

More than 5000 people were stung by bluebottles on Queensland's Gold and Sunshine coasts in a single weekend.

About 13,000 stings were recorded in the past week - three times more than in the corresponding period previous year. People can be stung in the water or on sand.

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

Dr Lisa-Ann Gershwin, a jellyfish expert from Australian Marine Stinger Advisory Services, agreed it was unusual to see gatherings in such numbers.

The group's Twitter page revealed the most recent encounter occurred on Monday, when a 32-year-old woman was hospitalized for a severe sting.

"Those figures, the 22,282, are for about five weeks and that's just one teeny tiny smidgin of Australia, so that is a lot". Parademics and lifesavers treated thousands of people in which many had suffered anaphylactic shock.

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On Saturday, 1323 people were stung on the Gold Coast alone.

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.

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

Armadas of bluebottle jellyfish have swarmed popular beaches in Australia, stinging more than 13,000 people in an "epidemic" caused by unusually strong winds.

Bluebottles, also known as Pacific man-of-wars, are responsible for between 10,000 and 30,000 stings along the country's east coast each year, according to the Australian Museum.

"Some of the bluebottle sails are right-handed and some are left-handed, across the body, so when the wind comes up it only grabs the ones with the sail going the right way for that particular breeze".

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