Spider bites in southern Africa

Not a spider bite

The subject of spider bites in southern Africa is a rabbit warren of hoax emails, misinformation, misconceptions and ignorance. It’s almost impossible to identify a lesion or wound as being caused by a spider bite, and at the same time, it’s as equally impossible to say that a spider was not involved. Common sense says that unless you watch the spider bite you, you must raise the question of if a spider was the cause at all.

Misdiagnosis of spider bite all over the world has reached pandemic proportions. In many instances, people claim to have been bitten by spiders, despite a distinct lack of any evidence. The usual reaction is that “It can only be a spider” or “What else can it be?” This perception has resulted in mass hysteria, numerous hoax emails and widespread misinformation. It’s very strange that people who work with spiders daily almost never get bitten by them!


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