What causes seabather's eruption?

Updated: Aug 07, 2019
  • Author: Clarence William Brown, Jr, MD, FAAD; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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Seabather's eruption is caused by exposure to the larval form (planulae) of the thimble jellyfish, L unguiculata. The seasonal variation in the concentrations of thimble jellyfish larvae in endemic areas lead to the increased incidence of seabather's eruption from May through August, with a peak in May and June.

Freudenthal and Joseph [4] reported the larvae of the sea anemone Edwardsiella lineata as the cause of an outbreak of seabather's eruption on Long Island, New York. This organism also has nematocysts. Various species of Cnidaria larvae in other waters can likely produce similar eruptions.

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