Thousands stung in jellyfish invasion in Australia's Queensland

08 January, 2019, 22:27 | Author: Darnell Taylor
  • 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

Several Australian beaches have closed down amid a risky invasion of highly venomous jellyfish that have stung more than 3,000 people in just a few days.

Thousands of beachgoers in Australia were treated over the weekend for venomous bluebottle stings, according to Surf Life Saving Queensland.

Twenty-two people have been taken to hospital with suspected Irukandji stings in Queensland so far this season.

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.

"I have never seen anything like this - ever", Sturges said.

Dr Gershwin said the rarity of the phantom jellyfish makes it hard to determine if they are responsible for the more severe stings attributed to bluebottles, but it's not out of the question.

"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".

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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.

Thousands were treated by lifesavers and several people reportedly suffered anaphylactic shock and were treated by paramedics.

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

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, said that such gathering of jellyfish in large is not quite unusual and mostly due to the winds.

If you've recently emerged from the waters of Queensland wrapped up in bluebottle stings, you not alone.

"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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