Bluebottles invade Queensland beaches

Bluebottles have inundated Queensland beaches. Source AAPMore

Bluebottles have inundated Queensland beaches. Source AAPMore

22,282 people sought medical treatment due to those blobby boys in the Sunshine State between December 1, 2018 and January 7, 2019, which is more than triple the number of punters who asked for help with a bluebottle sting over the same time period one year ago.

A sudden jellyfish invasion was responsible for stinging more than 3,500 people in the waters of popular beach areas in Australia over the weekend, officials said.

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

On Saturday, 1323 people were stung on the Gold Coast alone.

Nearly 1000 people were hurt in a matter of hours on Sunday afternoon, with 476 bluebottle stings treated on the Gold Coast and 461 on the Sunshine Coast.

Thousands were treated by lifesavers and several people reportedly suffered anaphylactic shock and were treated by paramedics.

The jellyfish activity forced the closure of busy beaches.

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.

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. Bluebottle stings are painful but typically not life-threatening, reports the BBC.

"Not everyone reacts the same way but there have been very serious reactions", Sturges told the reporters.

Most incidents took place in Queensland's heavily populated Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast regions.

"Some of the bluebottle sails are right-handed and some are left-handed, across the body, so when the wind comes up it only grabs the ones with the sail going the right way for that particular breeze".

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