Josh and Kristine Donovan of Mendon, Massachusetts, saw a bruise on their 5-year-old daughter Kailyn’s leg but thought it was just a simple bug bite.
The mark, however, grew and turned black, and the child came down with a fever. When her condition did not improve, Kailyn was brought to the hospital and was discovered to be bitten by a black widow spider, which is one of the most venom-laden spiders in the continent.
Nasty Spider Bite
Infectious disease doctors at the UMass Memorial Hospital confirmed that the bite came from a black widow, whose venom kills flesh surrounding the bite.
“She never felt it bite her,” said Kristine in a CBS Boston report. “It could have been in her jeans in the location where it bit her, we just don’t know.”
The child is now undergoing antibiotic treatment and plenty of dressing changes. The bite, according to her mother, is now healing, and the 5-year-old is expected to fully recover soon and have no scar left by the time she enters kindergarten in a few months.
Specialist Dr. William Durbin said the dark color of the spider bite was a sign of necrosis or cell injury.
“She had a very distinctive bite,” the doctor added.
The family is seeking to have their home backyard fumigated and to spread awareness.
Kristine was told by doctors that the bite likely happened outside as the black widow does not chase people. They were also doing some yard work, and one of the spiders was probably bothered and eventually bit the child.
The spiders, which maintain small, black bodies with red hourglass-resembling spots, are found mostly in the U.S. South and West and stay hidden in outdoor places such as barns and woodpiles.
“Old attics and sheds, those types of places,” said Mike Nelson of Norfolk County Agricultural High School, deeming the spiders very rare and the biting incident, therefore, is just as rare.
The black widow’s bite can be described as pinprick-like, although there are people who may not feel anything at all. During onset, though, symptoms may include muscle cramps and weakness, numbness, vomiting and nausea, breathing difficulties, and seizures.
More than 2,000 individuals in the country report being bitten by black widow spiders every year. Death from those bites, however, remains uncommon and usually takes place in young kids, elderly people, and extremely ill ones.
But the spiders could bite not just in the southern and western regions, as shown by Kailyn’s case.
If you suspect that you or your child has been bitten by a black widow, it is best to seek immediate medical attention.
In Australia, a 21-year-old man ended up in the hospital for getting bitten by a spider on his penis. It was the second time the misfortune happened to the man.
During the first incident, he was bitten by a redback spider, the Australian kin of the black widow.