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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 60  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 216-217

Spider bite from South India

1 Department of Family Medicine, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Emergency Medicine, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India
3 Department of Community Medicine, District Epidemiologist, Kollam, Kerala, India

Date of Web Publication13-May-2014

Correspondence Address:
Dr. KAM Jegaraj
Department of Family Medicine, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0022-3859.132377

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How to cite this article:
Jegaraj K, Saurabh R S, Rakesh P S. Spider bite from South India. J Postgrad Med 2014;60:216-7

How to cite this URL:
Jegaraj K, Saurabh R S, Rakesh P S. Spider bite from South India. J Postgrad Med [serial online] 2014 [cited 2023 Oct 2];60:216-7. Available from:


Spider bites are commonly reported from many parts of the world. While most spider bites are harmless and causes only local irritation, some spider bites can cause significant morbidity and rarely, mortality. [1] Clinical manifestations of spider bites reported range from simple local irritations and dermonecrotic lesions to potentially lethal neurotoxicity and intravascular hemolysis. [1]

Case reports of bites by brown recluse spiders (Loxosceles species) from India, causing skin ulcer and eschars had been published. [2] One case of spider bite causing intravascular hemolysis and acute renal failure was also reported from eastern India. [3] We report a case of spider bite by Poecilotheria species from south India.

Mr. M, 32 years reported to our emergency department 3 h after a spider bite to his right hand and brought the killed spider with him [Figure 1]. He was sitting under a tree when the spider fell from above and bit him. Patient complained of headache and mild blurring of vision along with pain and swelling in right hand [Figure 2]. On examination his pulse rate was 116/min, blood pressure was 110/60 mmHg, and rest of systemic examination was normal. Local examination revealed swelling, warmth, and redness on the dorsum of right hand. No bite mark was found. Laboratory investigations were normal except for mildly elevated total white blood cell count. He was treated with analgesics (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)), limb elevation, and tetanus toxoid. He was observed for 12 h in emergency department and as the swelling and pain subsided, he was discharged on NSAIDs for pain. Patient was followed-up after 24 h and 7 days and was found to have been relieved of all the symptoms.
Figure 1: The killed spider brought by the patient identified as Poecilotheria species

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Figure 2: The swollen right hand after 3 h of spider bite

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South India is home to a variety of spiders including the widely sought out pet spider called the "Mysore Ornamental" or the "Indian Tarantula". The killed spider brought by this patient was identified as Poecilotheria species. [4] Poecilotheria species belong to the group of big hairy spiders commonly called as a "tarantula". These spiders live in the cracks and holes existing in the bark of tall forest trees. The species occurs in dry and moist deciduous forests.

Most of the effects of spider bites are local like edema or necrosis and therefore symptomatic and supportive treatment is sufficient. But, there are also reports of unusual complications including acute renal failure following a spider bite from India. [3] Bites by Poecilotheria species can cause intense pain and swelling at the bite site with severe generalized muscle cramps. [5] Given the severity of Poecilotheria species bites, this case can be classified as of mild severity. Approach to spider bites in India should mainly involve, expectant management including a period of observation and follow-up and being aware of complications like muscle cramps, intravascular hemolysis, and neurotoxicity.

 :: References Top

1.Braitberg G, Segal L. Spider bites-Assessment and management. Aust Fam Physician 2009;38:862-7.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Thankappan TP, Sulochana G, Naik P, Sunny B. Spider bites - Cutaneous loxocelism. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol 1991;57:50.  Back to cited text no. 2
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3.Paul R, Santra S, Banerjee K, Mondal J. Spider bite presenting with acute renal failure from western part of West-Bengal. Asian J Pharm Health Sci 2012;2:445-7.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Siliwal M, Molur S, Daniel BA. Poecilotheria striata [Internet]. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. Available from: [Last accessed on 2013 Apr 14].  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Ahmed N, Pinkham M, Warrell DA. Symptom in search of a toxin: Muscle spasms following bites by Old World tarantula spiders (Lampropelma nigerrimum, Pterinochilus murinus, Poecilotheria regalis) with review. QJM 2009;102:851-7.  Back to cited text no. 5


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2]

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