WARNING - GRAPHIC IMAGES: Brown recluse spider leaves Stevenage man needing surgery after being bitten in Turkey
PUBLISHED: 14:58 22 September 2017 | UPDATED: 13:37 25 September 2017
A Stevenage man needed surgery after what he thought was a mosquito bite turned out to be a bite from a venomous spider.
Scott Lower noticed the small bite on his leg getting bigger and more painful on his flight home from a two-week family holiday in Sarigerme, Turkey, with his wife Mandy and eight-year-old son Harrison.
He took himself to Stevenage’s Lister Hospital to seek treatment and was told that it may be an infected mosquito bite and prescribed antibiotics.
After a few days back at work where he was constantly having to limp, his leg continued to get worse.
He returned for a second visit to the hospital, where the true nature of his bite was still not recognised, and his prescription was doubled.
The 44-year-old told the Comet: “When it first happened we thought it was a mosquito bite that had got infected, but it kept getting worse and worse. It was awful.
“I quickly got in touch with the hotel village and they said it might be a brown recluse spider. I did my research and that’s when I started worrying.”
Scott’s research of the potentially deadly spiders confirmed that his symptoms did in fact match those of a brown recluse bite.
It was only after he returned to Lister for a third time and convinced doctors that he had been bitten by a spider that they admitted him.
These spiders have a poisonous necrotic venom, which kills the cells or tissue in the affected area and, in serious cases, can cause the damaged area to become gangrenous.
Scott’s surgery involved incisions to remove the dead muscle and tissue, and left him with a large hole in his lower leg. He remained in hospital for three days, and has been back since to have his dressing changed.
The attack of the brown recluse seems to be on the rise, as former X Factor contestant Christopher Maloney was reported to have gone into anaphylactic shock and had to be resuscitated after being bitten earlier this month.
“Someone contacted me on Facebook who had exactly the same happen to them in the same hotel only one week before,” said Scott.
“They had to have three operations and now need to have three months off work.
“I’m still throwing up and getting headaches today.”
He added: “I would like to raise awareness. Had we realised sooner, I may not have needed surgery.
“My advice would be to keep a very close eye on any bite and – if it seems out of the ordinary, causes unbearable pain and looks like other spider bites or mine – seek medical care and make sure you are treated appropriately. Oral antibiotics will not be enough.”
Scott has been signed off from work for the next two to three weeks, and prescribed strong pain killers and antibiotics, with his leg not likely to heal fully for about a month.
A spokesman for the East and North Herts NHS Trust – which runs Lister – said: “Mr Lower clearly has been through quite an ordeal. If he has any concerns about the care he received while at the Lister, we would welcome hearing from him.”