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    Stinging jellyfish plague Southern California beaches

July 6, 2000

MALIBU, Calif. (AP) -- Jellyfish have suddenly appeared in large numbers along the Los Angeles County coast, stinging swimmers during the long July Fourth holiday.

It's been about 25 years since so many jellyfish invaded the stretch of coast. County lifeguards have been given supplies of vinegar to treat the painful stings and instructions on how to handle the injuries.

"There's a whole generation of beach goers who haven't seen them," Malibu lifeguard Nick Steers, a 35-year veteran said Monday. "For that matter, there's a whole generation of lifeguards that haven't seen them and don't know how to treat the stings."

The jellyfish have purple stripes and are called Pelagia colorata.

"We've got a bumper crop this year," said Zuma Beach Capt. Jim Dolman as lifeguards stayed busy dousing stings with vinegar and burying jellyfish that washed up on the sand.

Jellyfish stings are not fatal, but paramedics were summoned twice last week to Zuma because swimmers suffered allergic reactions. Zuma lifeguards treated 150 sting victims on Saturday and 130 on Sunday.

The jellyfish are also harassing swimmers along south Santa Monica Bay beaches.

"When I was a younger guard we had jellyfish every summer. Then they disappeared and everybody got used to not having them," said Capt. Robert Moore, a 33-year lifeguard at Hermosa Beach.

Copyright © The Sacramento Bee

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