The Brown Recluse spider is known as the most deadly spider in North America, and due to global warming its population is spreading to a town near you.But nothing can demonstrate the danger of the notorious Loxosceles reclusa than the story of Texas Christian University student Nikki Perez, who was bitten by one such spider in September 2011 – with horrendous results.
BEWARE: THE IMAGES BELOW MAY BE DISTURBING…HELL THAT’S WHY WE POST THEM!
Ms Perez was waiting at Amarillo airport with her boyfriend Eric and his mother on September 20 and suddenly, while inside, Perez felt something stinging the back of her neck.
‘I felt a nasty pinch when I touched my neck,’ she said.
‘Next, I felt something crawling over my face and over my eye. I yelled for Eric to help me, and when he saw the spider crawling over my face, he swatted it to the floor, and stamped on it.’
But when Eric’s mother, a nurse, inspected Ms Perez’s neck, she knew something was seriously wrong.
‘I felt funny, instantly,’ says Ms Perez.
It was then that the nurse recognised the violin-shaped mark on the dead spider’s back.
’A bite from a brown recluse can be deadly,’ says Janet Kempf, an arachnologist with the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles.
Infection site: Ms Perez felt when the spider bit her ear, and was not given any serious treatment immediately as doctors told her to wait and see if the ear began to rot
Perez needed a skin graft to repair the part of her ear that had rotted away with necrosis
‘They also cause a wide range of debilitating symptoms from vomiting to rashes and in some cases, a lesion that can become necrotic, or rotten, and has to be removed,’ ms Kempf said.
The student bravely picked up the spider, wrapped it up in tissues and put it in her handbag to show doctors.
On the drive towards the local clinic, Ms Perez’s neck had started to burn, an early warning sign of the terrible symptoms to follow.
‘It was only a small surgery and they had never seen a spider bite before,’ says Ms Perez.
‘They gave me some steroids and told me to keep an eye on it, but as soon as I got in the car, I could feel that my entire head was starting to swell up.’
At first, a Brown Recluse spider bite makes the area swell up before the affected area expands, changes to red, and the skin appears to harden. The victim can show other symptoms such as fever, shivering, nausea and vomiting.
It’s rare, but in some cases if the lesion becomes systemic, people can die,’ says Ms Kempf.
‘I went straight to the emergency department of my local hospital. I was lucky that there was a spider bite expert on duty, and he took one look at the spider and said, “That’s an immature female Brown Recluse spider”,’ recalls Perez.
Agonisingly, the doctor told Perez and her family there was nothing he could do, other than wait patiently to see if necrosis set in, which could take up to two weeks later.
‘My ear basically started to rot’ right on schedule with the doctor’s predictions, Ms Perez said.
At one stage her eye closed as the entire right side of her head swelled up to nearly twice it’s normal size.
Then it started spreading to my other eye. I was going blind…it was terrifying. It was spreading all over my head, which actually felt like a bit of a relief as the pain was so concentrated behind my ear.’
Ms Perez was hospitalized for four nights and five days, hooked up to IV drips putting vital steroids into her body.
She had to wear a helmet after she was discharged, and a protective headband for three weeks after that. Later, Perez needed a skin graft to repair the part of her ear that had rotted away with necrosis.
Amid the health scare, Ms Perez braved through the pain and only missed a week of school.
Experts fear that spider bites like these could be on the rise, as the Brown Recluse spider continues its population spread.
Kansas University researcher Erin Saupe predicts a possible migration of the Brown Recluse by 2020, predicting that the spiders could move further north toward portions of Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and even New York.
Like what you see? Be sure to also visit Pissed Off Geek too for more news and reviews with a horrific edge. To stay up to date with the latest horror news and reviews from the site be sure to "like" Truly Disturbings's Facebook page and following us on Twitter!