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Surgery saves arm from spider bite

But authorities in southern France claim toxin centre jumped gun on diagnosis of poisonous brown recluse spider

A MAN'S arm has been saved after he was bitten by a poisonous spider in the south of France.

However, despite the diagnosis of the Marseille anti-toxin centre that the venom found in the man's blood was that of the brown recluse spider, the local authorities are denying the cause is clear.

The spider's bite causes necrosis - where the body's cells die off quickly, not sending the traditional warning messages telling the body to repair itself.

As a result, a small unassuming bite can gradually transform into gaping horrible wounds, many requiring surgery to prevent the spread and remove dead cells.

The victim, a resident of the town of Orange in the Vaucluse, had a 15cm necrotic wound removed from his arm, following a bite in June.

A spokesman for the prefecture of the Vaucluse said: "The exact cause of this man's necrosis is not clearly established.

"The incident remains an isolated case and with no definitive cause."

They added that residents of Vaucluse were at no risk from spiders.

The brown recluse spider, true to its name, is not agressive and only bites if disturbed and pressed against the skin. It is native to the mid west United States.

Photo: A necrotic wound on a leg following a bite from a brown recluse spider.
Credit: Jeffrey Rowland

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