oa Southern African Journal of Epidemiology and Infection - Reality bites of spider bites : a case report and review of the local epidemiology : original research

Volume 28, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1015-8782
  • E-ISSN: 2220-1084



Spider bites are a frequent complaint, often prompting patients to seek medical attention. However, the diagnosis of a spider bite is frequently inferred by the patient, and a thorough evaluation subsequently reveals an alternate diagnosis. Gertsch et al demonstrated that of 600 consecutive "spider bite" cases, 80% were incorrectly diagnosed. Alternative diagnoses included bites by arthropods other than spiders, bacterial, viral or fungal infections and malignant tumours. In this study, we describe the case of a patient who was initially misdiagnosed as having been bitten by a spider. Later, the patient was demonstrated to have a spontaneous, soft tissue infection. We further describe the local epidemiology of cases presenting with spider bites and the subsequent microbiological findings.

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