‘Flesh-Eating Spider Bite’ Case Reported in Victoria

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Struggling for his life, Terry Pareja, a 65-year old Filipino and a father of two, is now concerned about losing his arms after his legs were already amputated. Pareja has already undergone nine operations but might still lose his arms if the infection continues to spread. 

Early reports state that the family of the patient claimed that he had a bite from a white-tailed spider in Western Victoria that probably caused his flesh to die, leading to the leg amputations. 

It was in late February of this year when Pareja visited his sister Raquel and her family in Birchip. He was exploring his sister’s garden when he felt a bit from an insect. He initially didn’t realize what it really was or the severity of the bite. 

Hours after the said incident in the suburbs of Melbourne, Victoria, Terry was in pain and his leg started to swell. That was the when he realized that there was something wrong. His relatives blame a spider’s bite for the problems, however this is yet to be confirmed.

White-Tailed Spiders

Since it was a weekend, no doctors were immediately available to give Terry medical attention. It was not until Monday when he finally sought medical help. The delay perhaps aggravated his condition as the “flesh-eating” infection had already assumed control over his leg muscles and tissue. 

Terry was immediately advised to undergo emergency surgery. His right leg was removed at Horsham, after which he was rushed to Alfred Hospital in Melbourne where his left leg was also amputated.

After seeing the test results and observing the patient’s condition, the medical team were dubious that such “venom” from the white-tailed spider was the primary culprit and for Terry’s condition.

In desperation for more funds to support Pareja’s accumulating medical costs and huge hospital bills, family members have set up a “GoFundme” page to raise money. 

Terry Pareja GoFundMe Page

Pareja’s daughter Jeffmarey wrote on the renowned fundraising website page, “My dad is in ICU with two of his kidneys not working, and is aided by kidney support. He has support for his blood pressure as well.”

Pareja’s sister Raquel also revealed that it might take up to 12-18 months before her brother could finally go back home. She noted that the doctors also discovered that the necrotising fasciitis (flesh-eating bacteria) were still present and suggested that this could lead to the amputation of both of his arms. She noted that being so financially constrained, it would be difficult for them to foot the associated bills.

What the Experts Have to Say About This Case

According to research findings, white-tailed spiders typically hide in dark places beneath bedding and towels, or under coverings, leaves, and rocks in the garden. Symptoms of spider bites may include but not limited to – small lumps, itchiness, swelling, skin discoloration, yet rarely nausea, headache, and vomiting. 

Studies have debunked the white-tailed spider being responsible for cases of ulcers and necrosis as a rigid, scientific inquiry of 130 white-tailed spider bites found no necrotic ulcers or any confirmed infections either.

The doctors suspected the “bug” to be either of the two very rare illnesses: necrotizing arachnidism or necrotising fasciitis. The former causes ulceration and skin loss, while the latter is found to be a serious bacterial infection that affects the tissue beneath the skin, surrounding muscles and organs.

As of this writing, the patient, though still in a critical condition, courageously tries his best to recover. We wish him all the best for the long recovery period ahead.

WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT BELOW

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Flesh-eating Bacteria on leg
*Photo not of patient’s, but this is what a flesh-eating bacteria does to you**

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