Australian spider bite boy saved by massive anti-venom dose
- 24 February 2017
- From the section Australia
A 10-year-old Australian boy has survived being bitten by one of the world's most venomous spiders after being treated with 12 vials of anti-venom, reports say.
It is thought to be one of the largest doses of anti-venom ever administered in Australia.
Matthew Mitchell was bitten on his finger by a funnel-web spider while helping his father clear out a shed.
He suffered multiple seizures, dilated eyes and began frothing at the mouth.
"It sort of clawed onto me and all the legs and everything crawled around my finger and I couldn't get it off," he told Friday's Australian Daily Telegraph.
Matthew's family used his shirt as a tourniquet to curtail the spread of the venom as he was rushed to hospital.
The boy received anti-venom at the hospital, believed to be the highest dose given to a bite victim in living memory, the Telegraph said.
The spider has been captured and taken to the Australian Reptile Park near Sydney, where it is now being used in a venom-milking programme.
The park's general manager Tim Faulkner said Matthew was "as lucky as they get".
February and March are the peak breeding season for many funnel-web species.
The small and deadly funnel-web spider
- Named after their irregularly-shaped webs, funnel-web spiders live in moist habitats - such as under logs or shrubbery - or rotting parts of trees
- There are 40 species, not all of which are dangerous
- The Sydney Funnel-web Spider, is probably responsible for most recorded deaths and the most serious bites
- They sometimes fall into swimming pools, where they can live up to 30 hours under water
- Their venom can lead to heart collapse, affect the nervous system and intestines, and cause difficulty in breathing
- There have been 13 recorded deaths from funnel-web spider bites in Australia - nobody has died since an anti-venom programme began
- Most species live in wet forest regions of the east coast and highlands of Australia, from Tasmania to north Queensland