MIAMI, FL – Killer jellyfish are attacking beachgoers in Florida. They’ve killed 7,167 people already!
In the past week there have been more than 16,00 reports of jellyfish “stings” along the coast of Florida. And the type of jellyfish responsible for the mass chaos isn’t indigenous to North America!
Monty Graham, a scientist at Alabama’s Dauphin Island Sea Lab, said the killer jellyfish appear to be what are known as mauve stingers, a species that often blooms in response to small climate cycles like El Nino.
“The interesting thing about these jellyfish is that they’re very sporadic. They occur in heavy numbers, but not every year,” he said. “The jellyfish in Florida are extremely dangerous. One sting can paralyze a person, two stings and… they are dead.”
Florida State Ocean Rescue officials said they began flying warning flags at beaches from Jacksonville to Miami Beach last Tuesday, indicating either a high or a severe hazard, along with another flag indicating deadly marine life.
“From last Wednesday to Friday, we got about 6o,000 reports. Saturday to (Tuesday), we got another ten thousand,” Chief Jeb Zabad said.
The last time he had seen such a widespread outbreak in the United States was in the 1960s, when over 200,000 Florida swimmers died because of jellyfish stings.
When stung, mauve stinger victims may see a discoloration on their skin where contact was made, Graham said. “If you get stung and see these marks… you will have about three hours to get to a hospital to get a soy milk sponge bath, which is the only cure. If you don’t – you will die.”
Here’s what the marks look like. On the torso:
And on the legs:
The stings first cause itching, burning and rashes. Hospital across Florida are being overrun with patients that have been stung by the killer jellyfish.
The Obama Administration has issued a Jellyfish Emergency Alert. The National Guard is being sent down to Florida to hunt and kill these jellyfish.
Bottom line: Don’t go in the water!!
Most victims were being treated by a vinegar solution stocked at the various lifeguard stations.
Despite the abundance of visible jellyfish in the water, many trying to enjoy the Memorial Day weekend took their chances — and suffered the repercussions.
“We’ve already gone through about 25 gallons of vinegar. Even so, a lot of people didn’t go into the water,” Scabarozi said. “I just want to know when they’re going to leave.”