30
Jan
10

Who has had a Sac Spider bite?

Abby was bitten by what we suspect was a sac spider mid December in Ponta do Oura. She had about 20 bites which at first were not sore and looked like flea bites. The day after she was bitten the bites became sore and small little white heads appeared. Within 2 days the bites went to black with red rings around them, almost like a nasty tick bite. The bites became hot, red,  swollen and very painful to touch and the  flesh just rotted. On day 4 she went to a Dr  with her leg swollen to double its normal size and fever. She was prescribed 1000mg augmentin and fucidin cream. On day 7 she was admitted to have bites surgically cleaned out under general anaesthetic.  She was not given any more antibiotics. She was told to use betadine, keep them dry and change the dressings regularly.

From what I have now read, the antibiotic is to treat secondary infection and nothing can be done about the cytotoxic poison.

The picture below was taken today, about 3 weeks after the bites occurred.  By now the wound looks a lot better and her leg is not swollen any more. The surgeon said she should go back in 3 months time to see if she requires plastic surgery or not.

I have often wondered what these sac spiders look like.   This is what came up on my search:

Note the pale colour and the way the legs are arranged.

.

Sac Spiders  can be recognised by their pale yellow green, yellow or fawn colour.   Apparently the way their legs are arranged give an important clue to the identity of this spider. Two pairs of legs are directed forward and two pairs backwards, and the first pair is much longer than the other legs.  Apparently the tips of the legs and mouthparts are usually dark in colour. ( http://www.biodiversityexplorer.org/arachnids/spiders/bites.htm )

Cheiracanthium furculatum is a species of sac spider that likes to stay in curtains, clothes and bedding.  These spiders make silk like sacs.  Is that why they are named sac spiders?  ( http://www.spiderwatch.za.org/medical.html )
The following is a detailed descritption I found of the bite:
“More specifically, the bite of Cheiracanthium presents as two spots, 4-8mm apart, where the fangs penetrated the skin and are yellow-green, the colour of the venom. After 4-8 hours, mild inflammation, swelling and pain develop. A blister may form over the necrotic lesion after a few days. After this sloughs, an irregular round, ulcerated wound of about 10mm remains. The wound is inflamed, swollen and painful. The wound could start to heal after 10 days but occasionally takes months. In some extreme cases, skin grafts have been necessary. The use of antibiotics is usually required should secondary infections set in but this could be prevented by the use of an antibacterial cream such as Betadine. There is no antivenom and an anti-tetanus injection is usually necessary. Some patients develop a mild fever and headaches after about 3 days and the condition is sometimes misdiagnosed as tick bite fever. However, tick bite fever symptoms develop after about a 10 day incubation period after being bitten, by which stage the bite will have turned black and the surrounding area swollen and red.”                                                                         ( http://www.biodiversityexplorer.org/arachnids/spiders/bites.htm  )
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