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Spider Bite: Brown Recluse Spider Bite (cont.)

Brown Recluse Bite Causes

The brown recluse venom is extremely poisonous, even more potent than that of a rattlesnake. Yet recluse venom causes less disease than a rattlesnake bite because of the small quantities injected into its victims. The venom of the brown recluse is toxic to cells and tissues.

  • This venom is a collection of enzymes. One of the specific enzymes, once released into the victim's skin, causes destruction of local cell membranes, which disrupts the integrity of tissues leading to local breakdown of skin, fat, and blood vessels. This process leads to eventual tissue death (necrosis) in areas immediately surrounding the bite site.
  • The venom also induces in its victim an immune response. The victim's immune system releases inflammatory agents-histamines, cytokines, and interleukins-that recruit signal specific disease-fighting white blood cells to the area of injury. In severe cases, however, these same inflammatory agents can themselves cause injury. These secondary effects of the venom, although extremely rare, can produce these more significant side effects of the spider bite:
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/23/2014

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Spider Envenomations: Brown Recluse »

In the United States, reports of severe envenomations by brown spiders began to appear in the late 1800s, and today, in endemic areas, brown spiders continue to be of significant clinical concern.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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