Spider bites used to be shrugged off by parents from previous generations, but due to an increase in dangerous and exotic spiders in regions where they are not native, medical professionals are beginning to treat spider bites with a greater amount of concern. Dangerous spiders are relatively uncommon in the United States, but they are abundant in South America and even Mexico. Given the dramatic increase in global trade during recent years, the chances of finding a dangerous non-native spider in your town is now much more probable than it ever has been. You may be surprised by how often non-native spiders and insects are found by grocery store employees while unpacking food shipments from South America. Of course, the US is not the only recipient of agricultural food shipments from South America. The fruits that westerners have become used to having all season long are usually imported from South America. Europe also collects fruit shipments from South America and Island regions around the horn of Africa. In fact, a recent incident involving a British girl hospitalized as the result of a spider bite may have occurred as the result of spider-contaminated fruit shipments from the Canary Islands.
After a small area of skin on a girl’s forearm seemed to melt away in response to a spider bite, she was rushed to a hospital where she was promptly put on an emergency IV drip of antibiotics. The girl’s wound, which was initially no larger than a fifty cent piece, was immediately recognized by doctors as a false widow bite. The surgeon who met with the young bite victim claimed to have suffered a false widow bite himself, and he recently treated another British girl who also sustained a bite from the nasty spider. Upon the girl’s first examination, doctors believed that she would have to undergo surgery in order to have the affected area of skin removed. However, a heavy dose of three different antibiotics healed the wound, making surgery unnecessary. According to the doctors who treated the young girl, cases of false widow bites have been increasing in Britain, and it is being theorized that the spiders are arriving in Britain from banana shipments imported from the Canary Islands.
Do you ever wonder if the fruit that you buy from the store contains exotic insects from the fruit’s home country?