Science

Thousands Treated for Bluebottle Stings in Australia

Thousands Treated for Bluebottle Stings in Australia

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.

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

The official word from one expert: A "hell of a lot" of people have been stung by jellyfish lately on Queensland's Gold and Sunshine coasts in Australia.

Surf Life Saving duty officer Jeremy Sturges described the barrage as an "epidemic".

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




Coastguard association Surf Life Saving said a "whopping" 3,595 people had suffered painful burns after encounters with the creatures, also known as bluebottles for their transparent bluish appearance.

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

"When you look at a bluebottle, and you see the bubble and the blue fringes and the long blue tentacles, that is actually a colony, that is not an individual", he said. "Don't pick it up, don't walk on it or you will be stung", Sturges said.

While some scientists have been more careful about linking climate change and jellyfish blooms, given a lack of long-term data so far, most researchers agree that jellyfish populations respond positively to a number of human-induced changes, including pollution, overfishing and warmer water. "Jellyfish are demanding our attention right now and we should be giving it to them". 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. Stings from box jellyfish, that can be smaller than a fingernail can cause severe muscular pain, vomiting, strokes, heart failure, severe uneasiness and even death within minutes. By 2017, there had only been two recorded fatalities in Queensland, according to the Department of Health there.


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