MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA-Authorities in Queensland, Australia, were forced to close beaches across the region over the weekend, amid what local officials said was a jellyfish "epidemic". More than 18,000 stings were recorded in Queensland in December, three times more cases than a year ago over the same period. The association are warning beach goers to be extra vigilant in the sea and perhaps stay out of the water altogether, especially children or people who are allergic.
That number is expected to rise, however, as the coastguard association Surf Life Saving said even more jellyfish are on their way thanks to north easterly winds working in their favour.
Several swimmers suffered anaphylactic shock and were attended to by paramedics.
Bluebottle jellyfish washed up on Sidmouth beach in Devon, England in this illustrative image.
Conditions eased on Monday but remnants of the bluebottle armada still dot the beaches and more than 300 people were treated for stings, mostly at the Sunshine Coast.
"I have never seen anything like this - ever", he said.
Bluebottle jellyfish are around six inches long and their stings are painful but not life threatening, although they can cause problems for children, the elderly and those with allergies.
"Not everyone reacts the same way but there have been very serious reactions".
"Bluebottles have definitely been fairly rambunctious lately, pretty much throughout southeast Queensland, they've been coming in large numbers in a lot of places", Dr Gershwin told the public broadcaster.
"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".