Necrotizing Spider Bite



Photo Credit – The New England Journal of Medicine 2013.

This is a photo of a Brown Recluse spider bite, these spiders are venomous and are usually found in southern and central states in the U.S., however this 10 year old girl was bitten in Mexico. Bites from these spiders are rare as this type of spider is not usually aggressive and cannot bite through clothing. Bites mainly occur if the spider is trapped between something.

Bites from the Brown Recluse spider can usually heal within 3 weeks, but in this rare case, the venom has destroyed the skin tissue which causes an increase in the size of the wound within 2 days. The bite caused a 2-inch lesion of dead skin tissue (the black tissue in the picture above), swelling and also a fever. More can be read about this story here.

I wanted to learn more about this kind of spider but I was somewhat reluctant when it came to clicking on images-could just imagine it creeping up my leg or something. Anyway I plucked up the courage and here’s what one of these bad boys looks like:

Photo Credit: Wikipedia. Brown Recluse Spider (Loxosceles reclusa)

Photo Credit: Wikipedia. Brown Recluse Spider (Loxosceles reclusa)

The spiders’ venom is whats known as hemotoxic which is a term used to describe a substance that is haemolytic – in other words it causes the lysis of red blood cells. When the venom becomes distributed around the body systemic affects can occur, such as; vomiting, nausea, fever, rashes and joint and muscle pain. These systemic and cutaneous consequences are grouped together by a condition known as Loxoscelism – the condition that occurs when bitten by a species of the genus Loxosceles.