'Never seen anything like this': Thousands stung by bluebottles in Queensland

08 Janvier, 2019, 04:54 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • A bluebottle jellyfish washed-up on Surfer's Paradise beach

Bluebottle stings usually cause severe pain to humans, leaving red whip-like welts on skin.

Beaches on both the Gold and Sunshine Coasts, located near Australia's city of Brisbane, Queensland, have been closed over reports of thousands of swimmers being stung by jellyfish-like creatures, known locally as bluebottles.

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

Unusually strong winds pushed the jellyfish colonies close to shore. 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.

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. 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. Cases of death have been recorded, but scientists say they are extremely rare.

Surf Life Saving Queensland said a "whopping" 3,595 people were stung over the weekend by Portuguese man o' war jellyfish, also known as bluebottles due to their transparent blue appearance.

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The jellyfish activity forced the closure of busy beaches.

The massive influx of Portuguese man o' war jellyfish, whose stings are notoriously painful, has been described as an "invasion" by local media in the state of Queensland.

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

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

"A bluebottle has that sail that sticks up so the wind grabs the sail and drives them ashore", she told the BBC.

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