September 17, 2014

Jellyfish swarm stings 800 swimmers in Florida

Judging by this photo it was darn easy to get stung at Cocoa beach last weekend.

More than 800 people have been stung by a swarm of jellyfish that invaded central Florida beaches over the holiday Memorial Day weekend.

THe purple stunging jellyfish did their ‘D-Day’ invasion on Atlantic coast beaches from Cocoa Beach to Cape Canaveral.

Brevard County Assistant Chief Eisen Witcher said the reports began coming in Friday, but as the Memorial Day weekend got into full swing, the numbers increased dramatically.

“Saturday, we got about 200 reports. Sunday, we got another 250,” he said.

All weekend long, countless numbers of jellyfish washed up on shores, standing out against the sand due to their distinctive purple hue.

“They’re very visible because of their color,” Witcher said. “They come in large amounts, very large groups.” (Got the idea now readers? Lots of jellyfish – lots of people – lots of pain).

Witcher said Brevard County shores are more familiar with Portuguese man o’ war and cannonball jellyfish, not this current species, which he said he believes are called mauve stingers.

“This time of year, this can happen when the conditions are perfect for jellyfish to wash up. You have an onshore breeze combined with an east swell.”

The stings cause itching, burning and rashes and can sometimes spur an allergic reaction.