In North America alone, there are more than 3,000 species of spiders. While most are harmless, several species including the Latrodectus (black widow), Atrax (funnel-web), and the Loxosceles (brown recluse) have been known to inflict varying degrees of injury to humans. While an overwhelming majority of spider bites may go unnoticed, others result in local skin reactions, necrotic cutaneous lesions, or a severe syndrome associated with hemolysis and death.
While proper identification of spider bites is paramount to the prevention of rare, life-threatening systemic reactions, their misdiagnosis can be equally hazardous. According to the literature, Loxosceles reclusa bites are more frequently being mistaken for community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) infections, due to the similarity of their classic lesion appearances. With the incidence of CA-MRSA infections increasing, it is vital for members of the healthcare community to effectively differentiate these lesions to prevent delays in proper care. Complications resulting from improper treatment of both CA-MRSA infections and spider bites may be devastating.
Cannon, MD, Ayana
The Medicine Forum:
Vol. 9, Article 28.
Available at: http://jdc.jefferson.edu/tmf/vol9/iss1/28