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

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

Australia Closes Queensland Beaches Over Thousands of People Stung by Jellyfish

A whopping 3,595 people were stung by #bluebottles over the weekend.

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

Labelled an "invasion" by local media, the bluebottles have stung both swimmers in shallow water and those who accidentally trod on the creatures while walking on the sand.

The latest figure for the weekend is nearly double initial estimates released by Surf Life Saving Queensland and includes people treated by council lifeguards.

Conditions eased on Monday, but remnants of the bluebottle armada (the correct term for a bunch of bluebottles) still dot the beaches and more than 200 people were treated for stings, mostly at the Sunshine Coast.

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.

Jeremy Sturges, a spokesperson, said the "epidemic" had required the closure of several beaches.

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"The numbers I have seen published are 25,000 to 45,000 per year for the whole of Australia", Dr Gershwin said.

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

Bluebottles-a.k.a. Portuguese Man O' War (Physalia physalis), a.k.a. Indo-Pacific Man O' War (Physalia utriculus), a.k.a. not a true jellyfish-is a marine hydrozoan found in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

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

She said "a really weird run" of strong winds and heat spells had brought bluebottle jellyfish and other species closer to shore.

He advised anyone stung to remove the stinger, take a very hot shower and then apply ice to the area affected.

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