Twenty-three tourists have been stung by poisonous jellyfish on a beach in the southern Thai province of Songkhla in recent days, officials told on Tuesday.The tourists were sent to local hospitals in Songkhla, 950 kilometres south of Bangkok, after being stung by blue bottle jellyfish, which had infested Samila beach, between Saturday and Monday, said Uthitsak Rirattanakul, a doctor at Songkhla’s Public Health Office. All of the tourists are Thai nationals. Two of them experienced breathing problems, while the rest, including a 1-year-old child, suffered painful red welts on their skin, Uthitsak said. “Everyone has already been discharged from the hospital. The jellyfish is not fatal,” he added.
Blue bottle jellyfish, also known as Portuguese man o’ war, is known for its long blue venomous tentacles. The species lives in the surface of the sea and are found in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans.
Up to 10 jellyfish were still on the beach as of Tuesday. Signs have already been put up on the beach to warning people that swimming is banned, according to Uthitsak. “This is the first time in many years I have seen this many jellyfish,” he said.
The Department of Fisheries attributed the infestation to the current stormy season, which has swept the jellyfish from the north of the Gulf of Thailand. Songkhla is located on the opposite side of better known tourist hotspots, Phuket and Krabi, facing the Andaman Sea.
In 2015, a German tourist was killed by a box jellyfish, one of the world’s deadliest species, on the southern island of Koh Samui.
Jellyfish have a bad rep. Most people are disgusted by or even afraid of them. But the squishy sea-dwellers are beautiful creatures – who don’t even need a brain to gracefully float through the seas.