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Biggest ever' antivenom dose saves boy bitten by funnel-web spider in Australia



Craig Adams - Saturday, February 25, 2017

The below article was taken from Sky News Friday 24 February 2017. For those of you who are uncertain of how to treat a suspected funnelweb spider bite, use the same first aid method as you would for a snakebite: apply a compression bandage to the affected limb, immobilise the victim and seek urgent medical attention.


A 10-year-old boy is lucky to be alive after surviving being bitten by one of the world's deadliest spiders.

Matthew Mitchell required what is believed to be the largest dose of antivenom ever administered in Australia - 12 vials in total - after experiencing numerous convulsions.

The youngster from Berkeley Vale in New South Wales was helping his father clear out a shed at their home when he was bitten on a finger by a funnel-web spider which was inside one of his shoes.

"It sort of clawed on to me and all the legs and everything crawled around my finger and I couldn't get it off," he told Australia's Daily Telegraph.

His family rushed him to hospital where he was given the antivenom - an unheard-of amount, according to the Australian Reptile Park, which runs a antivenom milking programme.

"I've never heard of it, it's incredible," the park's general manager Tim Faulkner told the Australian Associated Press on Friday.

"To walk out of hospital a day later with no effects is a testament to the antivenom."

The funnel-web spider is native to Australia and can kill a human in less than 15 minutes.

"It would have been a fatal bite (without antivenom) there's little to no doubt of that," said Mr Faulkner.

"A small child is more vulnerable - but that bite would have killed an adult."

The offending spider was captured and taken to the reptile park, located north of Sydney.

Last month the facility released a video showing people how to collect funnel-web spiders safely.

The park is the only supplier of venom to the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories, which provides medical professionals with the antivenom to cure snake and funnel-web spider bites.

To keep up the supply of venoms the staff regularly 'milk' more than 300 snakes and 500 spiders that are included in the programme.


About the Author - Craig Adams

Craig is a venomous snake expert and former Operations Manager for the Australian Reptile Park. With his wife Jackie, Craig has travelled to remote areas of Australia in search of venomous snakes and spiders for inclusion in the Reptile Park's venom collection program for scientific purposes and for the collection of new data on endangered species. Craig has featured in numerous National Geographic and Discovery Channel programs on the world's most venomous creatures. He worked alongside Steve Irwin as a consultant on his film "Oceans' Deadliest" and continues to work periodically with Steve's best friend John Stainton in an advisory and "to camera" role. Together with Jackie, he has also starred in numerous other television, print media and documentary films and is acknowledged by his peers as the "go to" person in this field.


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