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Spider bitten patient may lose his leg

A patient who was bitten by a poisonous spider in Phrae province might have his leg amputated to prevent further damages to other body organs from the poison.

The patient, Uthai Wiangkham, is now being treated in the intensive care unit at the Phrae General Hospital.

Meanwhile the Siriraj medical team has revealed the findings of tests made and found that the spider was a brown tarantula and not the feared brown ‘Back Widow’ spider.

spider bitePhrae General Hospital director Dr Wanchai Lohkarnjanarat revealed that the patient’s condition is now stable and that the medical team had no choice but to amputate his right leg due to the extensive damage to tissue.

The wound was found to have been inflicted by a poisonous insect or animal but the resulting infection stems from relatives not cleaning the wound and treating it with herbs.

Medical teams from the Siriraj General Hospital and the Chulalongkorn Faculty of Medicine released tests result which shows that the bite was from a brown tarantula and not the brown colored ‘Black Widow’ spider as originally feared.

The victim’s wounds also showed signs of extensive bacterial infection which in turn resulted in low white blood cell and platelet count.

The patient’s liver and kidney functions have also been severely impaired.

This is the first case of its kind reported in the country. Doctors said that the victim was fortunate as a bite from a ‘Black Widow’ spider would have been fatal. Tarantulas and ‘Black Widow’ spiders originate in the American continent and in all likelihood made its way into the country through the wildlife trade. Tarantulas can be differentiated from the notorious ‘Black Widows’ by the alignment of its six eyes which are arranged in a ‘U’ and not the violin shape found on the deadly ‘Black Widows’.

Professors from the Department of Biology at the Chulalongkorn Medical Faculty stated that the chances of a human being bitten by ‘Black Widow’ spider is small but does happen. But they also say that venom from ‘Black Widows’ attacks the human nervous system and causes massive damage to the surrounding tissue. Local paralysis of organs surrounding the bite is also another symptom as the amount of venom secreted is relatively small. Their advice in the event of a spider bite is to clean the wound and quickly seek medical attention.

If possible, the carcass of the spider should also be brought in so that physicians can inspect it and the proper anti-venom be prescribed. Most cases of spider bites are reported during the rainy season when spiders are most numerous. They warn the public to be extra careful during this period but should not be overly alarmed.

Thai PBS

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