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October 20, 2016 11:34 am

Israeli Baby Rushed to Hospital Writhing in Pain From Deadly Black Widow Spider Bite

avatar by Ruthie Blum

A black widow spider. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

A black widow spider. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

An Israeli couple rushed their 11-month-old daughter to the hospital this week after she was bitten by a spider and began writhing in pain, the Hebrew news site nrg reported on Thursday.

According to the  report, the baby was placed in the pediatric intensive care unit of the Hillel Yaffe Medical Center in Hadera, where it was determined that she had sustained a bite from a deadly black widow.

“It was a good thing that the parents brought the spider with them to the emergency room, enabling us to identify it,” said Dr. Adi Klein, director of pediatrics at Hillel Yaffe. “We immediately began treatment, which included hydration to keep her blood pressure stable and pain-killers.”

According to Klein, the baby developed a swift and severe reaction to the bite: swelling, acute agitation, body tremors, sweating, muscle cramps and a rash.

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“There is no doubt that the quick arrival at the hospital with the spider, and the flushing out of the venom were vital,” she said. “A bite from such a poisonous spider could cause multi-organ damage, and even death, if not dealt with in time.”

Klein said the parents of the patient told her that the family had been eating a meal in their Caesarea home when they noticed that the baby was holding something black, which she was about to put in her mouth. During the attempt to wrest it from her grip, the spider — “the size of a coin” — jumped to the floor.

At that moment, the baby began to scream and “appeared to be in shock.”

Her father then trapped the spider in a box and searched the internet in an effort to determine what kind of spider it was. When he saw that it looked like a black widow, he and his wife immediately got in the car and drove the baby to the emergency room.

Though an antidote for black widow venom exists in Israel, the staff at Hillel Yaffe, after consulting with the Israel Poison Information Center, decided not to administer it in this case, because the serum itself can cause a dangerous allergic reaction. The staff opted, instead, to flush the venom out of the baby’s system — a procedure that was successful, as she is now recuperating and will likely be released from the hospital within a few days.

According to nrg, black widow spiders are rare in Israel, particularly in homes. It is not clear, thus, how this one turned up in a house in a town located on the Mediterranean coast about halfway between Tel Aviv and Haifa.

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