Thousands stung by bluebottle jellyfish on Queensland beaches

Katie Ramirez
January 8, 2019

More than 2500 people have been treated for bluebottle stings on the Gold and Sunshine coasts in Queensland.

Swim spots in Queensland, Australia have been shut down after bluebottle jellyfish stung thousands of beach goers.

About 13,000 stings were recorded in the past week - three times more than in the corresponding period a year ago.

The creature's stings are painful but not life-threatening and people have been advised to stay out of the water.

That number is expected to rise, however, as the coastguard association Surf Life Saving said even more jellyfish are on their way thanks to north easterly winds working in their favour.

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.

Experts said the jellyfish were likely strewn ashore by unusually strong winds. More than 13,000 stings were recorded in Queensland alone last week, with more than 2,500 people seeking treatment over the weekend, according to rescue organizations.

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"Bluebottles have definitely been fairly rambunctious lately, pretty much throughout southeast Queensland, they've been coming in large numbers in a lot of places", Dr Gershwin told the public broadcaster.

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

The jellyfish activity forced the closure of busy beaches.

Those who come into contact with a man o' war, which are also known as bluebottles for their transparent blue hue, are encouraged to remove the tentacle as quickly as possible and treat the sting with very hot water.

The influx of jellyfish has been described as an "invasion" by local media in Queensland.

"Due to the northeasterly winds, we will continue to see bluebottles hanging around", the agency said in a separate post.

But she added that given those unusual weather conditions, the number of jellyfish should be considered "not abnormal".

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