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Lakeland Man Dies From Brown Recluse Spider’s Bite

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Female brown recluse spider, Loxosceles reclusa Gertsch & Mulaik.  Source: University of Florida Entomology & Nematology, Photograph by Jeffrey Lotz, DPI.

Female brown recluse spider, Loxosceles reclusa Gertsch & Mulaik. Source: University of Florida Entomology & Nematology, Photograph by Jeffrey Lotz, DPI.

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LAKELAND (CBSMiami) – A Lakeland man who said he suffered a spider bite last summer has died.

Ronald Reese, 62, said he was bit on the back of the neck in August 2013 and within one day, he could barely get out of bed according to his father, H.K. William Reese.

Reese’s death was considered the result of an unintentional injury due to spider envenomation or complications from a spider bite by the Polk County medical examiner reported The Ledger.

While Reese was never tested to determine the type of spider that bit him, his father said it was a brown recluse spider.

“He was working in an old house tearing out the existing walls and ceilings and replacing them — brown recluse spiders like to live in those old houses,” H.K. William Reese told The Ledger.

Reese lived in Lakeland with his 88-year-old father and underwent numerous procedures and lengthy hospital stays at Lakeland Regional Medical Center.

His father said Reese spent the last six months in extreme pain.

“I was glad when he died. I said, ‘Thank you, Lord, for getting him out of his misery,’” he told The Ledger.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, spider bite deaths are extremely rare.
Dr. Logan Randolph, a biology professor at Polk State College, said spiders carry venom to kill and digest their prey.

However, only a handful of spiders, including the black widow and brown recluse, are actually dangerous to humans.

According to the CDC, brown recluse spider bites begin with two small puncture wounds and develop into a blister-type wound. The venom can also cause a severe lesion by destroying skin tissue, which requires medical attention. Despite the dangerous bite, they aren’t typically lethal.

To read the full story from The Ledger, click here.

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