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December 8, 1945


Author Affiliations

Intern, Roper Hospital; Assistant Professor of Medicine Charleston, S. C.

From the Department of Medicine, Medical College of the state of South Carolina, and the medical service of Roper Hospital.

JAMA. 1945;129(15):1016-1017. doi:10.1001/jama.1945.92860490003007a

Serious results have been observed from the bite of the spider for centuries. Records of these results have been made for over a hundred years, and a popular misconception of their gravity has gained wide acceptance. Carefully observed cases have failed to demonstrate much actual danger to life, but there is no question that the victims undergo severe and prolonged agony.

Latrodectus seems to be the only truly dangerous member of the spider family. Severe epidemics of systemic poisoning were reported in Spain in 1830, 1833 and 1840, and others in France, Italy and Corsica.1 In the United States, Latrodectus mactans is widely distributed, being especially prevalent in the Southern states, the Ohio valley and the western coastal region. It is commonly known as the Black Widow, Shoe Button, Hourglass, T Dot or Po-Ko-Moo spider. It is shiny and coal black and is marked with an hourglass-shaped spot of red

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