Science

Thousands Treated for Bluebottle Stings in Australia

Thousands Treated for Bluebottle Stings in Australia”

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

Australian environmental activists say that their own government shares some of the blame, pointing at the lack of a co-ordinated effort to target plastic pollution in the waters around the Australian coastline, for example.

Surf Life Saving Queensland said over 2,600 people received treatment at the weekend.

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

According to the association, 22,282 people were treated for bluebottle stings between December 1 and January 7 compared to 6,381 in the same period a year ago.

"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".

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

Several swimmers suffered anaphylactic shock and were attended to by paramedics.

Bluebottles, also known as Pacific man-of-wars, are responsible for between 10,000 and 30,000 stings along the country's east coast each year, according to the Australian Museum.

"Unusually strong wind conditions are causing bluebottles to come closer to shore", the aquatic rescue authority tweeted on Saturday.

Gershwin said the striking blue jellyfish lived in armadas in the middle of the ocean and had trailing tentacles and a keel-like crest that acts like a sail.

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

They are most prevalent in sub-tropical regions but sometimes turn up en masse in North Queensland.

"Bluebottles have definitely been fairly active lately, pretty much throughout southeast Queensland", Dr Gershwin said.

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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