Published: Tue, January 08, 2019
Sci-tech | By April Francis

Thousands of Queensland beachgoers stung — Bluebottle jellyfish

Thousands of Queensland beachgoers stung — Bluebottle jellyfish

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.

Bluebottles, highly venomous jellyfish, are common on Australian beaches during the summer, which begins in December.

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.

Across the weekend, about 2,630 people were stung with several suffering anaphylactic shock and treated by paramedics.

"I have never seen anything like this - ever", he told news.com.au.

As many as 476 bluebottle stings have been treated on Gold Coast and 461 on the Sunshine Coast so far.

"People have been hurt as they just walk along the shoreline,"Sturges said".

"They get picked up by the wind and blown as long as the wind keeps going or until they hit land and strand on the beaches, so that's when we see them obviously", she said. "Don't pick it up, don't walk on it or you will be stung", Sturges said.

Some researchers also say this jellyfish infestation could be one more thing to blame on climate change. "All of this takes out their predators and competitors, so they're the 'last men standing, '" said Gershwin.

Stings from these box jellyfish - which can be smaller than a finger nail - can cause acute muscular pain, violent vomiting, feelings of "impending doom", hair that stands on end, strokes, heart failure and death within minutes.

Even though there is no definite way to predict future fatalities caused by jellyfish blooms, Australian researchers are concerned that the numbers could rise significantly. The Australian Marine Stinger Advisory Service (AMSAS) states 22 people have been admitted to hospital in the state in recent weeks with suspected Irukandji jellyfish stings, which is well above the ten-year average.

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