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Woman Loses Breast to Brown Recluse Spider

Posted by Jane Akre
Monday, May 24, 2010 4:23 PM EST
Category: Protecting Your Family
Tags: Spider Bites, Brown Recluse, Black Widow, Necrosis


The Reluctant Brown Recluse

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IMAGE SOURCE: brown recluse spider, emedicine.com Web site

“I would have never known in a million years a spider can do this much damage.”

That message is from Victoria Franklin who is recovering after an April mastectomy, reports CNN.

Franklin lost her left breast and only found out after she woke up from an 11 day coma in an Atlanta area ICU unit. She noticed a problem Easter Sunday after she came home from church.

By Friday morning she couldn’t take it anymore. The skin had a strong smell and her breast turned black and got so large she couldn't fit into her bra.

By the time she and a friend got to the emergency room it was too late. Gangrene had set in and the left breast and muscles had to be removed. She had developed necrosis or dead tissue which can occur from a brown recluse spider bite or a skin infection such as MRSA.

“Summer time is coming kids like to play outside I want the moms and all the people in the community to know just how dangerous this one little bite can be.”

Spider Bites

While there are about 20,000 different species of spiders, most are harmless, but about 60 are capable of biting humans and causing harm, reports emedicinehealth, among them, the black widow and brown recluse.

The brown recluse are not aggressive and tend to bite when they feel threatened. They reside in dark warm dry places such as attics, woodpiles barns, porches, and old tires. Most bites reportedly occur in the summer months.

The brown recluse is native to the Midwestern and Southeast states but their desert cousins have been found in Texas, Arizona and California. Deaths from the brown recluse have been reported in children under the age of 7.

Identifying the Brown Recluse

This type of spider has a violin pattern on its back with the base of the violin at the head of the spider. The spiders are yellow and tan to dark brown with darker legs. They are not hairy and have six eyes.

Actual bites are rare and usually occur when the spider is pressed against the skin if it’s found in clothing.

The bite from the brown recluse is reminiscent of the MRSA, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, the skin infection so named because it is resistant to the antibiotic, methicillin. It too can start as a pimple or boil looks like a spider bite and many people misdiagnose themselves. Pictures on the Internet of post-bite are particularly graphic.

Treatment should include a trip to the emergency room bringing the spider if possible. Pain and itching at the bite site can be followed by nausea, vomiting, fever, and muscle ache. Antibiotics are frequently used as part of treatment. #


2 Comments

Anonymous User
Posted by Vanston
Wednesday, May 26, 2010 12:16 AM EST

Please stop selling fear. I know that Brown Recluse bites suck more people in than Staph infections do, but the fact remains that this probably was a Staph infection. Nobody knows that it was a spider bite, but we do know that the initial stages of this infection were described as 3 pimples. That sounds like Staph to me. Also, this lady was diabetic and was at a higher risk for Staph infections.

Posted by Jane Akre
Wednesday, May 26, 2010 11:41 AM EST

The WSB reporter said that the doctor diagnosed the bites of a brown recluse spider so your speculation is just that.

While it is scary,IB News believes consumers would rather be smart than sorry.
Thanks for commenting.

Jane Akre

Comments for this article are closed.

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