KOTA KINABALU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Beachgoers in the Malaysian state of Sabah have been warned to be cautious before entering the water following reports of a jellyfish infestation along Sabah's west coast.
State Fisheries Department director Ahemad Sade said the increased number of jellyfish was associated with the prevailing dry spell in Sabah over the past week.
He said those heading to beaches such as the popular Tanjung Aru area should be extra careful.
"They should heed warnings or advice from Civil Defence Department personnel at the Tanjung Aru beach," Ahemad added.
He said it was difficult to determine the jellyfish season due to the unpredictability of weather conditions.
The jellyfish season last year occurred between January and March.
Five children, aged between five and 12 years, were stung by jellyfish while swimming at the Tanjung Aru beach on Sunday (July 30).
They were given first-aid treatment by Civil Defence beach rangers who applied acetic acid to the wounds before the victims were taken to the hospital.
The jellyfish species at Tanjung Aru has been identified as the chironomid box (chorpsalmus quadrigatus) variety or locally known as "obor-obor api."
The sting from this jellyfish is known to be highly venomous.
The other species locally known as "obor-obor pasir" is a black spotted jellyfish similar to the catostylus townsendi species.
Stings from their tentacles can cause itchiness and/or allergic reactions upon contact, inflammation to the skin and swelling.