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Originally posted by dangermouse
I was under the impression that Black Widow venom was usually NOT fatal to humans unless the person is allergic to it, excluding of course small children and the elderly. If I remember correctly, the toxin causes intense muscular contraction for several days, very painful.
Prior to antivenom
availability, black widow spiders killed approximately 5% of human
bite victims1. Now, reports indicate human mortality rates to be less
than 1% from black widow spider bites. Deaths from black widow
bites among healthy adults are relatively rare in terms of the number
of bites per thousand people. Only 63 deaths were reported in the US
between 1950 and 19892.
What are the symptoms of a bite?
A black widow spider bite gives the appearance of a target, with a pale area surrounded by a red ring. Severe muscle pain and cramps may develop in the first two hours. Severe cramps are usually first felt in the back, shoulders, abdomen and thighs. Other symptoms include weakness, sweating, headache, anxiety, itching, nausea, vomiting, difficult breathing and increased blood pressure. Young children, the elderly and those with high blood pressure are at highest risk of developing symptoms from a black widow spider bite.
Mortality/Morbidity: More than 13,000 spider bites were reported to the American Association of Poison Control Centers in 1997, with no deaths; more than 1,300 of the bites were described as moderate or severe. The reported death rate from documented bites occurs in less than 1% of reported cases. Young children appear to be at highest risk for a lethal bite.