Authorities have closed a popular beach in southern Spain and sent out warnings for four others after a mother and daughter were hospitalised with stings from the poisonous Portuguese man o’war ‘jellyfish’.
The incident comes as thousands of British tourists visit the area for the summer season.
The city council of Cadiz, in the southern Spanish region of Andalusia, closed the Getares beach in the city and raised the yellow flag on the Victoria, Cortadura, Santa Maria and Caleta beaches to warn bathers a Portuguese man o’war (Physalia physalis) was in the waters.
Local media report a mother and daughter, who have not been named, were left hospitalised after being stung by the potential lethal Portuguese man o’war in the waters of Victoria beach. They were treated at the Puerta del Mar beaches,
Reports state three of the deadly ‘jellyfish’ were spotted at the Victoria and Cortadura beaches and the nearby Getares beach was closed for bathing.
According to statistics from the Tourist Observatory of Cadiz, 351,842 British tourists stayed in the province of Cadiz in 2018 and total of 115,716 tourists of all nationalities stayed in the province’s tourist accommodation in May 2019.
The Portuguese man o’war, also known as a fake jellyfish, is not actually a jellyfish but a marine hydrozoan with long tentacles that can deliver a painful sting, venomous and powerful enough to kill fish and, in some cases, humans.
The alert comes after Naomi Mateos, 23, was left hospitalised in the Virgen de la Arrixaca hospital in the city of Murcia in the south-eastern Spanish region of the same name after she was stung by a Portuguese man o’war in the waters of the popular Puntas de Calnegre beach in the municipality of Lorca.
She had dived into the water and said: “Only ten metres from the shore, I felt a strong pain in my wrist that went all the way to my back. I became paralysed. I could not move and could only scream.”
Her friend eventually removed the tentacle with a diving flipper and Mateos was taken to hospital. She shared the startling images the ‘jellyfish’ left on her skin all over her upper body on social media. The photos show the toxic abrasion its tentacles left on her shoulders, arms, back and breasts