Previously reported baby jellyfish stings in Limassol could actually turn out to be marine mites, following a doctor’s diagnosis in a similar incident in Larnaca, while authorities do not yet have a definitive answer.
A young child recently visited Mazotos beach, Larnaca district, and ended up getting a rash, just days following a similar incident with another boy in Limassol.
But reports following the medical exam in the new case are raising doubt whether previous stings could have been caused by baby jellyfish.
Last week, officials said jellyfish ended up in the water at Lady’s Mile beach in Limassol by following an undercurrent, saying this meant jellyfish could show up anywhere in Cyprus.
This week, officials said they were aware of media reports but had no conclusive evidence in their department that jellyfish were responsible for the stings or whether breaking out in hives was caused by mites in the water or in the sand.
Marine department officials are taking marine water samples to see if they can determine the cause of rash in at least recent incidents
Marine department official Marina Argyrou told Kathimerini Cyprus that they are taking water samples to see if they can determine the cause of the rash in at least a handful of recent incidents.
But the medic who examined the child in the Mazotos incident determined that the rash came from Halacarid mites (Acari) commonly known as marine mites. Although there are fresh water and marine species, the most commonly known organisms in the Acari family are dust mites, wood mites, ticks, chiggers, and scabies mites.
A health official in the Limassol municipality, Yiorgos Theotis, says the incidents at Lady’s Mile where swimmers would break out in hives were in fact caused by acari.
All acari species are fluid feeders that suck plant or animal tissue fluid through a pharynx. They can liquefy solid food by excreting an enzyme with their salivary glands.
Theotis, who spoke with Kathimerini Cyprus, said this is not something permanent as acari are often found near the beach at the beginning of the summer season, especially during sudden temperatures increases.
No cause for alarm, officials say
The official says the public should not be alarmed and no incidents were spotted elsewhere within his district part from Lady’s Mile.
But he said anyone who breaks out in hives or feels like getting a rash should visit a dermatologist for medical treatment.
According to Theotis, there is no spray that could kill or thwart the acari, as they are transparent and hard to spot. And live in rocks and seaweed.
A number of readers took to social media to report similar incidents in other parts of Cyprus in the past. Officials said recent media reports on incidents were based on isolated cases and they are trying to fully understand the situation as quickly as possible.