Study: Brown recluse spider bites can cause self-destruction of blood cells

Fareeha Arshad

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According to a recent case of a couple of people - a thirty-year-old man and a twenty-eight-year-old woman - who were bit by brown recluse spiders, an instance of hemolytic anaemia was observed in their bodies. That resulted in immune system-mediated red blood cell destruction.

Both the individuals bitten by the lethal spider showed strange symptoms like weird lesions on the area where they were bitten and complained of being in a lot of pain. Also, the white portion of their eyes had turned yellow. They had developed scleral icterus, a condition that hints at the breakdown of red blood cells within the body.

Upon further tests, it was recorded that both had developed warm autoimmune hemolytic anaemia, a condition when the immune systems destroy the red blood cells within the body. Thus, both individuals reacted almost similarly against the poisonous bite from the Loxosceles reclusa spider, also known as the brown recluse spider.

According to the National Capital Poison Center, though initially, there is no pain felt upon the spider bite, with time, the area turns blotchy and itchy and results in inflammation of the area. Over time, the bitten part will become very painful and almost appear like a blister. Sometimes, the bite can result in the death of the tissues, especially in the area surrounding the bite. However, bites from the brown recluse spider are challenging to diagnose; therefore, individual symptoms may differ. Therefore, though a spider bite may appear harmless at first, it may lead to very deadly outcomes.

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I am a scientist by profession and a historian by passion. I mostly write about history and science.

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