Do Spider Bites Cause Flesh Eating Disease?

If you were bitten by a spider, can you be infected with the flesh-eating disease? In an earlier post we wrote on this issue, we quoted a news report which notes that the bite of the white-tailed spider has the potential to develop flesh eating bacteria.

Now here’s another news report on a study done way back in 2003 which concluded that the white tail spider is not guilty of causing the flesh eating disease. However, some kind of spiders – particularly the recluse and fiddleback spiders – have been documented to cause skin necrosis. So, in short, the white tail spider is not guilty of causing flesh eating disease while its brown recluse and fiddleback cousins are guilty of such crime.

But then again, maybe some researchers in the future can come up with proof in the future that will convince the medical community that the white tailed spider is guilty beyond reasonable doubt. Eh?

From ABC Science Online:

The white-tail spider, whose bite has been blamed for cases of flesh-eating ulcers for decades, has been declared innocent following methodical Australian research.

Not one of the 130 white-tail spider bite cases in the study, the first of its type ever conducted, had any evidence of necrotising of the skin, researchers report in this week’s Medical Journal of Australia – a publication that was which was itself partly responsible for the original accusation.

Conducted by Dr Geoff Isbister, a clinical venom expert at the University of Newcastle and Dr Mike Gray of the Australian Museum in Sydney, only included bites where the spider responsible had actually been caught and given to medical practitioners.

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