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techkenyot.com January 19, 2019


Bluebottles inundate Queensland beaches stinging thousands of swimmers

08 January 2019, 04:52 | Edward Lowe

Bluebottles have inundated Queensland beaches. Source AAPMore

Bluebottles have inundated Queensland beaches. Source AAPMore

While researchers are still examining how much recent heat waves may have contributed to the current jellyfish bloom off Australia's coasts, they can already say with certainty how they got to the beaches: Unusually strong north-easterly winds pushed the bluebottles onshore and they are clumped in their thousands along the shoreline.

But a SLSQ spokesman described the latest influx as an "epidemic", while some local media outlets labelled it an "invasion".

According to the report, some 2630 people were stung across the weekend, with nearly 1000 hurt in a matter of hours on Sunday.

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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", Surf Life Saving duty officer Jeremy Sturges told the Guardian, calling the sudden surge of the creatures an "epidemic".

Bluebottle jellyfish washed up on Sidmouth beach in Devon, England in this illustrative image.

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No fatalities have been confirmed and for most people the stings are harmless - albeit painful - but they can cause problems for those with allergies, as well as the young and the elderly. The aforementioned expert notes that typically, just 25,000 to 45,000 people are stung over the course of an entire year in all of Australia. "Don't pick it up, don't walk on it or you will be stung", Sturges said.

"The intense skin pain can last from minutes to many hours". However, should the venom travel to the lymph nodes, it can cause symptoms similar to a severe allergic reaction, including swelling of the larynx, airway blockage, cardiac distress, and an inability to breathe. The number of those cases was not recorded.

Stings from Portuguese man o' war are notoriously painful and coastguard association Surf Life Saving said a "whopping" 3,595 people had been stung, although other estimates put that number at more than 5,000.

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