Australian waters can be dangerous. Over the years we have posted about attacks by crocodiles, sharks and deadly jellyfish. This hazard, however, is new, at least to us. Recently, Australian media was flooded with photos of the bloodied legs of a teenager who emerged bleeding from the waters of Dendy Street Beach in Brighton, near Melbourne, Australia. He is believed to be the victim of an attack by some very hungry sea lice.
Sixteen year old, Sam Kanizay had sore legs after a football match and wanted to soak his legs at the local beach. When he came out of the water his legs were bleeding heavily and when the bleeding did not stop, he was taken to a local hospital where he is recovering.
Sea lice are known to attack humans but local doctors are baffled by the severity of the attack. A much less severe attack on a swimmer near Melbourne was recorded in 2015. The lice are a variety of crustacean which most often are parasites on fish. Sea lice can be a major problem for fish farmers raising salmon.
Not everyone agrees that sea lice are the attackers. Some think it likely that larval jellyfish may be the culprits. In the United States, swarms of thimble jellyfish larvae often leave swimmers with a nasty, itchy, acne-like rash. The jellyfish larvae, which can be a big problem off the Florida coast, are referred to locally as “sea lice.” The thimble jellyfish larvae do not leave their victims bleeding, fortunately.
Thanks to Phil Leon for contributing to this post.