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

Author: Craig Adams
Date: 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.

A zoo in Australia wants people to catch deadly spiders. Here's why

Author: Craig Adams
Date: Friday, February 10, 2017

The below article was taken from TRT WORLD Thursday 9 February 2017. Unlike other spider bites a Funnel web spiderbite it to be treated exactly the same as snakebite with a Pressure Bandage and Immobilisation. Naturally we recommend the SMART Bandage as the best tool for the job."

Australia’s only supplier of anti-venom has run out of stock after a dramatic increase in spider bites. It wants people to catch spiders so they can be milked for their venom to produce the lifesaving antidote.

How did they they run out of venom?

Not enough funnel spiders were donated to The Australian Reptile Park’s anti-venom programme, last year.

A recent heat wave also encouraged more spider activity and bites, the reptile park's general manager Tim Faulkner said.

"We have tried to catch enough spiders ourselves and we just can't."

How dangerous is it to catch a spider?

If someone is bitten by the funnel spider, the large fangs and acidic venom will make the bite painful. A major bite can lead to death within an hour if left untreated.

But the reptile park says there is a safe way to catch deadly spiders and all you need is a wooden spoon and glass jar.

"With an appropriate jar and a wooden spoon, you can flick the spider into the jar so easily," Faulkner said.

Avoid using plastic containers as spiders can bite their way out.

While Australia has a bad reputation for its long list of deadly animals, the reptile park said there have been no deaths from funnel-web spider bites since the anti-venom programme began in 1981.

How is a venom turned into an antidote?

The venom is secreted through the spider’s fangs, and then collected.

The park delivers the venom to a division of a blood plasma and vaccine maker, which converts it into the life-saving antidote. The antidote is administered to those bitten by poisonous spiders.

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