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SCI/TECH: Rare U. S. Death from Spider Bite

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posted on Oct, 8 2004 @ 04:30 PM
Although it is incredibly rare in the United States, it has been determined that the bite of a Brown Recluse spider has resulted in the death of a small child. 5-year old Nicholas Robinson of Fayetteville, Tennessee became ill and unexpectedly died this past July. Although his family suspected a spider bite, the cause of death could not be established until a lengthy post-mortem examination could be completed. Some experts will no doubt disagree with the finding.

A late Wednesday evening phone call from the Tennessee state medical examiner gave his grandmother the answer she needed. "Said that he had checked throughout the world, and his finding so far was that it was a Brown Recluse spider bite," she explains.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

In about the last 30 to 40 years I was only able to find about six deaths related and proven to be from a brown recluse spider, State Medical Examiner Dr. Bruce Levy said. Spider bite expert, Dr. Phillip Anderson, is quoted in a 1998 journal article for Missouri Medicine as saying, We are not aware of any verifiable deaths caused by the bite of the North American brown recluse spider."

While the bites of the Brown Recluse are serious and can result in horrible lesions and scarring, deaths are exceedingly uncommon. There is no antivenin currently available and treatment is essentially limited to the relief of the bite symptoms. Now that this finding is public will we see more study and investigation into the effects of this arachnid's bite?

Related News Links
Valley Family Waiting for Answers in Young Boy's Death

More information
Brown Recluse Bite Treatment
Brown Recluse Bites Warning: **Graphic Photos**, Brown Recluse Spider Bites - Warning: **Graphic Photos**

posted on Oct, 8 2004 @ 05:32 PM
I know three people who have been bitten by these little guys. Each of them had a half-dollar sized scoop of flesh removed by the hospital, but that's it. I hear it's painful as hell but almost never kills anyone. If you die from a bite, it's most likely from the infection that is sure to follow (rotting flesh and whatnot).

posted on Oct, 8 2004 @ 06:10 PM
*Warning, Graphic*
Spider Bites

They get much bigger than half-dollar sized pieces of flesh. If you do get bit, you should go to the hospital as soon as possible. Unless you want a huge chunk of flesh missing.

posted on Oct, 8 2004 @ 06:24 PM
Very true Arek. All of those whom I've known that were bitten were taken to the hospital almost immediately. I assume that the scoops were taken out in order to prevent the spread of the venom. Brown recluses are quite common in my little corner of the country, and we know to respond quickly if bitten.

posted on Oct, 8 2004 @ 06:30 PM
there is a spider in Australia like this one called the white tail. It causes the same type of injuries from necrosis of the flesh. People have had limbs removed, if the infection gets out of control. As in the case of this spider deaths are extremely rare but can happen.

posted on Oct, 8 2004 @ 06:49 PM
Ok- I was a victim in 1992. It happened as I got off a train in Boston-
As I walked out of train, i felt a terrible pain on my right leg. I took a few steps, looked down, and was horrified at what I saw. My leg was turning black. I had to walk 1 block to my home, and the pain got worse with each step. By the time I got home, i had a red welt and my entire leg was purple and black. I went to emergency room, they ran some tests and determined it was a spider. The doctor prescribed antibiotics , drew a circle around the part of my leg with a magic marker and told me if redness goes beyond this point, call an ambulance.
He also told me I had to have complete bed rest. Two days later, the redness and the black went beyond the marked area and the doctor prescribed what he called the strongest antibiotics available.
He insinuated I might have to be amputated.

The miracle: A friend of mine heard I was ill so she came over. She went to the store and bought a pound of bacon. (regular, sliced)
She proceeded to wrap my entire leg with the raw bacon, then placed gauze on my leg and told me to take it off next morning.
As soon as I woke up, I unwrapped this bacon- Imagine my eyes when I saw that 80 % of my leg was clear, with just a small black area around bite.
Needless to say, I bought another 2 pounds of the bacon. Over the next 2 nights I repeated the procedure, and by the 3rd day, I had no trace of any bite.
The doctor couldnt believe it and said he would write it in the medical journals.

Keep this in mind. It does work.

posted on Oct, 8 2004 @ 06:50 PM
I have suffered a bite myself. It did result in a somewhat nasty wound that left a scar about the size of a quarter, but I was fortunate enough to have recognized it for what it was and got treatment immediately. The treatment consisted of antihistamines and fever reducers only. It was not very painful but I did develop a moderate fever and a splitting headache.

I have always counted myself very lucky, even more so since hearing this story. Especially since we do not have Funnel Web Spiders in the USA. I don't have a 'thing' about spiders at all, have even held tarantulas on a number of occasions, but those things creep me out.

posted on Oct, 8 2004 @ 06:53 PM

having spent the last ten years in the Peds Icu, I have seen my share of home remedies gone bad. I believe your story, but it in all likelyhood has more to do with you having a strong immune system than anything else. Bacon contains nitrates, and the only think that it may have done is cause local vaso dilitation to the effected area allowing slightly better circulation.

posted on Oct, 8 2004 @ 07:14 PM
The brown-recluse is a scary little bugger. As mentioned earlier, you have to catch the bite early to avoid disaster. I know of a few people who caught it early and still had to take a nice spoonful of flesh out to prevent spreading. I can remember more than once in Texas being told not to sit too close to shrubbery.

I am allergic to most spider bites. For example, if I am bitten in the hand, I will not be able to see my knuckles for days. The funny thing is that I like spiders and never kill them...... and I have Black Widows all over the place here in my neighborhood in LA! I see them on streetlamp poles, mailboxes, windowpanes, excetera all the time. Oh.. the irony!

posted on Oct, 8 2004 @ 09:06 PM

Originally posted by Spectre

I have always counted myself very lucky, even more so since hearing this story. Especially since we do not have Funnel Web Spiders in the USA. I don't have a 'thing' about spiders at all, have even held tarantulas on a number of occasions, but those things creep me out.

I used to live in Turramurra in Sydney which has the worlds highest concentration of funnelwebs. As a kid we used to poke things down their holes, but after my neighbour was bitten we stopped doing that.
Getting bitten by a brown recluse seems to be worse than a funnel web ( there is plenty of funnel web vaccine although it does cost $10-15 000 for the antivenine), as funnel webs leave no phyisical scars.

posted on Oct, 8 2004 @ 11:51 PM

Originally posted by dgtempe
As I walked out of train, i felt a terrible pain on my right leg. I took a few steps, looked down, and was horrified at what I saw. My leg was turning black...As soon as I woke up, I unwrapped this bacon- Imagine my eyes when I saw that 80 % of my leg was clear, with just a small black area around bite.

Now I am not going to call you a lier but...I don't know how to finish this sentence.

From my knowledge, it would take much longer than the time that you hint at for the flesh to actually turn black. You don't specify how long it was between the bite and the blackness...10 minutes? 2 minutes? An hour? It takes a while usually.

I agree with FredT in saying that bacon does not -again to my knowledge- have any healing properties.

Again, I do not doubt that something happened to you and I am sure it wasn't pleasent...but I have to skepticize.

PS Brown Recluses are also not native to Mass. they are usually confined to the central-southern states and in Nevada. and such.

posted on Oct, 8 2004 @ 11:58 PM
I have a co-worker who has been bitten by a brown recluse three times and has lived to tell the tales...her wounds were pretty bad when they happened, but she managed to catch them in time and prevent any further damage...they can leave some horrible scars and they're certainly nothing to play with if you happen to see one crawling about...

When my family moved from Kentucky to Virignia, we found one in a box...I'm just glad to say that's the end of my story with my personal encounters with these spiders...

posted on Oct, 12 2004 @ 08:07 PM
I was bitten by one of these little buggers in the mountians of North Carolina, while sitting on the toilet of all things. He got me on the inside of the thigh, and I noticed the bite while getting into bed.

I never felt the original bite, but I did notice a slight pain or itch. I sat down on the bed and thinking this might be an ingrown hair, I began trying to get the hair out. After a couple minutes of squeezing with no success, I wiped the area with an alcohol pad and went to sleep.

The next morning the bite was very swollen and hard as a rock. About the size of a racketball, so I went to the camp clinic, and got lucky that the docter knew what to do. Ice. Ice, and more Ice. 72 hours of Ice at least. The poison the spider uses is a hemotoxin "blood toxin" similar to the copperhead snake. Their is no anti-venom. I am very lucky, because I didn't excatly catch it right away, and I only have a very small scar. No missing flesh thank God!

Being woken up in the middle of the night with a fresh ice pack on your nuts isn't that great, but its way better than ending up like some of those scarry pictures in this thread.

posted on Oct, 12 2004 @ 09:17 PM
Some of those spiders do have nasty bites. I was recently bitten by one in the last year (it may have been a brown recluse but I'm not sure). Anyway the swelling and redness around the bite was at least a good 3 to 4 inches in diameter. My home remedy of ammonia on the bite and lots of beer finally did the trick for me. The swelling finally started going back down and no scar.

Just yesterday I saw a very strange and very scary looking spider like insect that looked like a cross between a spider and a centipede. I obeyed my first and primal instinct when seeing such a horrible thing, kill, must kill. Anyway it's dead but I'm sure there are more somewhere. I never saw anything like it before either. I think there must be hundreds of different species of spiders I've never seen before in the area I live at in South Carolina. Some are very scary looking.

Speaking of strange or dangerous spiders, I'm just curious. What species builds spider webs big enough to trap humans? I remember years ago in NC one type of spider was building webs that were about 50 ft across from one tree to another and about 30 to 40 ft high from a tall tree branch to the ground. I swear I could hear a sound like a piece of steel wire twinging when I brushed against one of the strands of silk of the web. I thought those spiders were cool but my father got scared and killed one with a baseball bat and splattered it. The others disappeared after that.

I close with saying spiders aren't all bad. They eat all of those other annoying insects and often build their webs in corners out of the way. I just don't want to live with them though especially the deadly ones such as the brown recluse.

[edit on 12-10-2004 by orionthehunter]

posted on Oct, 15 2004 @ 12:49 PM
orionthehunter I think you are refering to the orb weaver, were the webs round?

posted on Oct, 15 2004 @ 01:19 PM
About six years ago, I was bitten by one these recluse spiders.
It happened while I was asleep. I awoke with the feeling I had a
mosquito bite. It was a small welt that was very red and itchy. I was
actually able to find the spider in the bed. I had apparently rolled
over and squished it. I put the spider in a jar in case something
happened. Well by that afternoon, my right arm, on the inside was starting to swell and turn red. I went to the doctor the following day, with the
jar and the spider, and the doctor confirmed it was indeed a recluse.

My arm felt on fire. It was very hot to the touch. The doctor scraped
away a section of skin if I remember right, and he put me on an
anti-biotic of some sort. I don't recall the medicine name. After about
three days this infected area was about 4 inches in diameter.
Imagine cutting a golfball in half and placing one of the halfs on
your arm. That is how big it had swollen, and how high it was.
After taking the medicine for a few days, it brought the swelling down,
but the pain and the heat was still there. I lived with this pain for
approximately 6 months. It took this much time for the redness
to disappear. Six years later I still have a large scar on my arm that is
about the size of a nickle. I also had to go back on a couple of occasion
to have some fluid drained off.

Some facts about recluses. They are sort of like other spiders in that they
like to hide in dark, damp places. One place they love is underneath
water beds. They also love to hide in cardboard boxes or shoe boxes.
They will hide underneath clothes stored and folded up in a drawer.

Recluse spiders can go for a long time without eating, I have heard they
can go for 3 months without consuming food, although they like to come
out at night and sneak around.

An experiment was done in the state of Indiana in the US a few years ago.
The scientists or whoever they were, asked at random if they could come
into peoples homes and search for the recluse. They said that on average,
they found as many as 200 in the homes searched.

I have known a few people over the years that have been bitten by a
Black Widow, and have seen the results, and believe me, I think I would
rather have the Widow bite as opposed to the Recluse. My bite was an
experience that went on for over a year before I felt right, and the color
came back to my arm and the swelling and pain subsided. This is one
nasty little spider and it is not a fun experience to go through.


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