A Melbourne dad is facing losing all his limbs after being bitten by a deadly white tailed spider while visiting family in the small town of Birchip, Victoria.
Terry Pareja didn’t realise he had been bitten until the next day, when his leg began to swell and he couldn’t walk properly, reports Stawell Times.
With a population of just over 600 people, Birchip had no doctors available until Monday. Tragically, it was too late and Mr Pareja had to have emergency surgery in Horsham to remove his right leg which had succumbed to a flesh-eating bacterial infection.
After being flown to Alfred Hospital in Melbourne doctors were unable to save his left leg and it was also amputated.
He is now in critical care on dialysis for failed kidneys while doctors battle to save both of his arms, which also show signs of the infection.
Mr Pareja’s sister, Raquel Ogleby, says her brother’s future is unclear and it could be 18 months before he could return home.
‘Last week we met with doctors and they said he will need time and rehab as well and the whole process could take that long,’ she said.
‘He has been in hospital for 34 days, but he is slowly getting better.’
White tailed spiders
- These native Australian spiders are small, but incredibly dangerous. With a long, cylindrical body they are most recognisable by a white tip or stripe on their tail.
- They are more active in warmer months, and like to hide in dark places like tree bark and leaf litter. In homes they tend to seek out clothes abandoned on the floor, or laundry piles.
- Bites have a stinging feeling, very painful, and are accompanied by itching and swelling. Ulcers can form, and the venom can trigger nausea and vomiting.
- In the event of a bite, capturing the spider will help medics identify treatment quickly. In the meantime applying ice to the wound will help relieve swelling, then visit a doctor.