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While multiple black widow and recluse spider species are the only two spider groups in the United States that are considered potentially fatal, they are not necessarily the only spider species considered medically significant. Brown recluse spiders have become well known among the American public for inflicting bites that often lead to tissue necrosis around at the bite wound, but this is not the only spider species in the US that produces venom that can lead to tissue necrosis. First of all, a total of 13 brown recluse species have been documented in the US, and evidence strongly indicates that all of these species are capable of causing necrotic bite wounds. Luckily, recluse spiders are not found in the northeast US, but the yellow sac spider is abundant in the northeast, and they are widely considered to be a species capable of inflicting necrotic bite wounds. Not long ago, a teenager sustained a yellow sac spider bite that caused extensive tissue necrosis that required skin-grafting surgery.

When  doctors first examined the 19 year old, they found necrotic tissue on his left thigh, lower left abdomen and the entirety of his genitals. The rotting skin had been shedding off of these regions of the teenager’s body, which required skin-grafting surgery. Although the teenager’s symptoms were consistent with tissue necrosis induced by spider venom, it was not initially confirmed if a spider bite was the true cause of the necrotic condition. The symptoms were first noticed after the teenager removed his tight-fitting football uniform in a school locker room after a game, but no visible symptoms were found before the game started three hours prior. However, it was later revealed that the locker room had become infested with yellow sac spiders, as a professional entomologist confirmed the species identify from captured specimens. This clearly indicates that the yellow sac spider had inflicted the bite that led to tissue necrosis, and the teenager’s tight uniform may have squeezed a particularly high amount of venom out of the offending spider. Yellow sac spiders are responsible for a majority of spider bites sustained in the northeast, and they are frequently found in homes, sometimes in large numbers. These spiders are unusually aggressive and will bite humans without provocation, and although most bites do not lead to tissue necrosis, bites should not be dismissed lightly when they occur.

Have you sustained a spider bite within your own home?