On Jul 7, 2008, morrigan from Craryville, NY wrote:
I spent a week in hospital with a Brown Recluse bite in the late '90s, and they fully expected to have to amputate part of my foot for the better part of my stay. There were 5 Recluse bite cases in hospital at the time. Now, more than 10 years later (I think the bite was in 1996) I suffer from severe damage to the toes that were affected. It started with what I thought was a mosquito bite while out in the field photographing Ospreys. Over the next 4 days, it got so bad I was stoned on painkillers and walking with a crutch, seeing the Dr. once or more a day, and developed a high fever. The reg. Dr. was clueless and sent me to a surgeon. By that time (day 5) I had the telltale necrosing tissue, moving outward in concentric circles from the centre point of the bite. IV antibiotics, fluids and so forth finally saved my foot.
These spiders LOVE damp, humid weather and love to hide in dark places which can include shoes in a closet. When I was finally able to return to my job as a Vet Tech, my boss read me a report in the CDC monthly update, which told of a woman in Oregon who was bitten by a Br. Recluse on her cheek, and was dead within the week. These are toxic little (#&$#$)*@)'s, and they are tiny, (1/4" or less) so you may not even see them. Beware the Brown Recluse Spider! I am sure they are more common than we think because at that time, I was living in Southampton, NY and had only ever heard of them being as far south as CT. I'm sure they are in alot of places we don't expect to find them. BTW, the photo I uploaded was from the Wikipedia site, it was not taken by me.
On Sep 12, 2011, ogon from Paradise, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:
Reportedly, the distribution of this spider is limited to the Eastern US, but my Great Aunt lost her right index finger to a bite that occurred on farmland in Chico, CA and was attributed to the elusive Brown Recluse by her doctors. Her finger had to be amputated to stop the spread of necrosis. There have also been a handful of other local cases attributed to the elusive spider.
A couple of months ago, my cat received a wound on her side that quickly developed into necrosis. The first day that I noticed the wound, it was no larger than a small gash. By the second day, tissue surrounding had dissolved to about the diameter of a U.S. quarter and about an inch deep. I took her to the vet on the second day and they removed much of the surrounding tissue and administered antibioltics. They said the wound exhibited the telltail pattern of a Brown Recluse spider bite, and if we had not taken her in when we did the necrosis would likely have spread too far for her to recover. The removal of tissue stopped the spread of necrosis and she thankfully recovered after several weeks.
I have yet to actually SEE one of these spiders, but because of their reported presence, and the abundance of Black Widows in my area, I ALWAYS shake out and then visually inspect shoes, gloves, and other items before putting them on. Also always were gloves when dealing with wood, rocks, or other areas where these solitary spiders could be found (leaf piles, dense plants, etc). Better to be safe than to be sorry!