Around 13,00 people have been stung by jellyfish off the coast of Australia in the past week after huge numbers of the creatures were blown inland by unusually strong winds.
Beaches along the heavily populated Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast regions of Queensland have been closed as colonies of bluebottle jellyfish cause what local media has dubbed an “invasion”.
The creature’s stings are painful but not life-threatening and people have been advised to stay out of the water.
Bluebottle jellyfish are around 15cm long and often appear along the Queensland coast in the summer but the number of people stung this year is three times higher than normal.
Surf Life Saving duty officer Jeremy Sturges described the phenomenon as an “epidemic”, telling Australian media: “I have never seen anything like this - ever”.
He advised anyone stung to remove the stinger, take a very hot shower and then apply ice to the area affected.