[Skip to Navigation]
September 1961

Reactions Following Suspected Spider Bite: A Form of Loxoscelism?

Author Affiliations

John A. James, M.D., Dept. of Pediatrics, University of Texas Southwestern Medical School (35).; From the Stephenville Hospital and Clinic (Dr. Terrill), Methodist Hospital (Drs. Austin and Sellars), Parkland Memorial Hospital and The University of Texas Southwestern Medical School (Dr. James).

Am J Dis Child. 1961;102(3):395-398. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1961.02080010397017

Untoward reactions to the bites and stings of insects and other arthropods are responsible for a number of deaths in the United States each year. During 1950-1954, 130 people are known to have died as a result of such attacks. Hymenoptera insects (bees, wasps, yellow jackets, hornets, and ants) were responsible for 86 deaths, spiders for 39, and scorpions for 5.1 It seems likely that a much larger number of persons suffered serious but nonfatal reactions.

This report concerns 2 children in whom bites* were followed by acute hemolytic reactions, convulsions, and gangrene at the site of the injury. Although both patients reside in Texas, these manifestations closely resemble the syndrome of "viscerocutaneous arachnidism" which may complicate the bites of the South American spider Loxosceles laeta.2-4 In neither of the present cases was the arthropod recovered or identified.

Report of Cases  Case 1.—An 8-year-old white boy who has

Add or change institution