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Recluse spider bite disfigures woman’s ear



A 22-year old woman from the Netherlands vacationing in Italy was shocked to discover that the pain caused in her ear was the result of a bite by a Mediterranean recluse spider. This particular spider variety is known for the excessive amount of damage its bite can cause in destroying human skin. Not only did the woman’s face swell up, but a portion of her ear eventually turned black, indicating to doctors that the spider bite caused the ear’s skin cells to die. The result was that the woman’s ear was permanently disfigured because the poison in the spider’s venom was able to dissolve the cartilage that forms the ear canal.

Venom from recluse spiders, including the American brown recluse and its Mediterranean cousin, kills skin and fat with a mixture of chemicals, including substances that break down proteins. The bite of this particular type of spider may take up to two months to heal and it often leaves a sunken scar.

Plastic surgeons went to work on the patient, removing all the blackened skin and dead tissue prior to using a portion of the woman’s own ribs to refashion the cartilage in her damaged ear. The woman’s severe reaction to the spider bite, which most likely happened while she was sleeping, is the first case of anyone losing a portion of their ear due to a spider bite. Medical experts say that in more cases, people bitten by a brown recluse spider recover after being given painkillers and an icepack.

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Recluse Spider Bite Eats Hole in Young Woman’s Ear

Tomas Carbry possesses a decade of journalism experience and consistently upholds rigorous standards. His focus areas include technology and global issues.