Brown Recluse Spiders

“In 2014 we received more calls about brown recluse spiders than we can ever remember,” stated Dave Mueller, President of Insects Limited.

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TUSTIN, Michigan – Medical experts are calling it a ‘rare death’ — a healthy 58-year-old woman has died after being bitten by a brown recluse spider in Central Michigan. Charles Strickland said his wife Betty Ann came home on Monday, June 30, 2014, after working the afternoon shift at her nursing job. The couple lives in Tustin, a rural area just east of
the Manistee National Forest. Betty Ann showed her husband a bug bite on the top of her right foot. “I looked at it, and it didn’t look usual at the time. It wasn’t swollen excessively, there was not a lot of redness,” he said. But two days later, Strickland could tell something was really wrong with his wife. “I was helping her down the stairs, she kept telling me how bad her foot hurt,” he said. “At that time, she had a great big bump about the size of a
marble protruding out of where the bug had bitten her.” Strickland said his wife then started having trouble breathing so he called 911. “While I’m talking to the lady, I’m talking to my wife, trying to figure out what’s going on, and my wife couldn’t talk. Her eyes were fixed
straight ahead and she just couldn’t, she was gasping for air but she couldn’t get any air, is what it looked like,” he said. Strickland said his wife stopped breathing.

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“My daughter and I did CPR on my wife for about 40 minutes until the ambulance could get here,” he said. “And then they took over and did it for another 20 or 30 minutes, I guess,
and that’s when they called it and said that my wife had passed away.” The experts said the bite on Betty Ann’s foot was from a brown recluse spider and that it was highly unusual.

“Normally when people get bit by a spider, they get bit in a muscle or in a fatty tissue and my wife had been bitten in the blood vessel,” Strickland said. “The toxins were just circulating throughout her blood stream and it was infecting everything, all her organs, and
he said it actually shut her whole system down, and that’s what killed her.”

According to the University of Michigan Health System, brown recluse spiders are found most often in the south-central part of the According to the University of Michigan Health System, brown recluse spiders are found most often in the south-central part of the United States and live in hot, dry, abandoned areas, such as wood or rock piles. The spiders are about 0.5 inches long with a violin shaped mark on the combined head and midsection. According to experts, the brown recluse spider is not indigenous to Michigan.

Symptoms from a brown recluse spider bite include reddened skin with a blister that forms on the bite site, mild to intense pain and itching, according to U-M. A week or so following the bite, an open sore will form with a breakdown of tissue, which could take months to heal. Some people have more severe symptoms, such as fever and chills, a skin rash, nausea or vomiting, and joint pain.

Treatment depends on the severity of the bite. Options range from a cold compress to antibiotics and pain medication.

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