Spider bite and infection. Reactions serious.

Anonymity82

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So a friend of a friend, let's call him "Steve" (he wishes to stay anonymous) was bitten in mid 2011 by an unknown spider. The resulting story may be a bit terrifying and sympathy inducing. We ask you not to share your sympathy, just any information you may have on similar stories or thoughts you may have would be appreciated.

Steve works at a Petsmart where he believes he was bitten by a spider. The bit was found on the upper inner thigh. The only way this could have happened is if the spider crawled up his pants or was there when he got dressed. More likely it crawled up his pants. The podium is a breeding ground for spiders, many of which hang out underneath the podium. I have only seen a few species in the cricket bins (located at the podium), false widow, running crab spider, cellar spiders and have to check underneath. The rest of this story is going to be a bit scary for us spider lovers.

The initial bite wasn't felt. It became red and swollen and then simmered down. Then the swelling and redness came back (now an infection I assume). The bite was red swollen with a white ring around the bite. He went to the doctors and was put on some serious antibiotics. The infection was very bad and he was put on Sulfa which apparently is a very strong antibiotic which made him sick for months afterwards.


A few days later after going to the doctors for antibiotics he had a 2 minute seizure. No history in his family of seizure. He's a healthy, young, full grown man. A couple of months later he had another seizure and now he is on medication for the rest of his life for seizures.

He has seen neurologists, taken the needed brain scans ,and has seen other specialists. Doctors don't have any answers for him and keep passing him along because nobody knows why, or how he started having seizures. They have ideas though but nothing more than faint possible answers. He was also tested for MRSA which came back negative.

I have never heard of anything this severe. I'm no specialist, doctor, arachnologist, or scientist. I am however completely amazed by this story and have a few ideas I would like to throw out there:

Possible higher risks to seizures for unknown reasons triggered by bite and/or (more likely) infection.
Possible seizures caused by heave antibiotic usage.
Possible reaction by the body to the infected tissue and/or meds.

Steve still works at Petsmart, the wound has healed up to a tiny scar and other than having to take seizure medication is healthy. He's no longer concerned on getting answers because there's no way to be sure what the hell happened. The responses I get from this story are more for me but I will relay anything that sounds of importance.

I would really be interested in reading whatever anybody has to say about this story. Anything similar etc...

Thanks for reading!

--Nate
 
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SamuraiSid

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antibiotics are potentially neurotoxic and may cause seizures if given in high doses relative to renal function and/or bodyweight
http://jac.oxfordjournals.org/content/45/1/5.full

Ive always believed bad things about antibiotics. Im not the only one. There was a story either in Scorp-sub or TWH, where a woman was given two antivenin injections and an $80,000 bill for an emp sting. When in doubt, throw drugs at it.


Does your friend, "steve" get any commisary pay for being injured at work? Maybe a lawsuit is in order?
 

pitbulllady

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My sympathies to "Steve", but honestly, connecting any of this to a spider is about as logical as blaming space aliens. By now, you should know that "spider bite" is a medical euphemism for "I have no idea what's wrong with this patient".
If you're going to blame an arachnid, a tick would be the primary suspect. The skin lesion you described sounds a lot like the rash associated with Lyme Disease, which also can cause long-term neurological damage and effects if untreated. Was your friend ever tested for this? It's also possible that the skin lesion was not caused by a bite of any kind(obviously there was SOME type of infection, MRSA or not, or he would not have been put on antibiotics), and it's possible that it had nothing to do with the seizures. Some antibiotics can cause seizures, though they usually resolve once the patient stops taking them. Epilepsy does not always have a genetic link, and it isn't picky about which victims it affects. Blaming a spider in this case is about as logical as me blaming a spider for my Diabetes, of which I also have no family history.

pitbulllady
 

The Snark

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I'm going to try to keep this simplified and it is up to the patient to follow up if he so chooses.
He was, in all probability, given massive doses of Sulfonamide and Augmentin, most likely IV. Augmentin, Amoxycillin Clavulanate, is in the Penicillin family. One of the side effects of penicillin allergy is neurotoxicity and seizures. It has been established that Penicillin allergies can trigger epileptic seizures in otherwise healthy individuals.

-Penicillin allergic reactions and full allergies are relatively common with massive and prolonged treatment by the drug.


Case in point and what he is looking at. I developed a severe infection from a cat bite. I was on the Augmentin Sulfa concoction which is very standard treatment when an infection is not fully identified. After the infection was identified I was kept on the same treatment because it was working, even if it was not the optimal treatment. This is a very common medical procedure.

I was given the antibiotic concoction IV for 4 weeks and orally for another 6 weeks. It exacerbated a neurological condition I already had. My condition was in remission until after the treatment.

I consulted several neurologists. After $14,000 of tests including an MRI I was referred to a neurology center. I contacted the center and they informed me the initial testing would cost $30,000 to get started and could run up to a total of $80,000. Medical insurance would not cover the testing and I never was able to pursue. The costs were in 1994 so it is likely to be much more expensive now.


His call, but from personal experience and doing A LOT of research, I'd say that is where he could go looking. Sadly, I will also add what I was told. It is unlikely a specific treatment can be found. Symptomatic treatment, as what it appears your friend is on, usually for the rest of a persons life, is the normal procedure. Neurological disorders are normally always treated symptomatically.


For reference. I've lost all the web page addresses I accumulated but this can get you started. Keep in mind Wiki pages are not definitive but usually a synopsis: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penicillin_allergy
 
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Dan Wulf

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The initial bite wasn't felt. It became red and swollen and then simmered down. Then the swelling and redness came back (now an infection I assume). The bite was red swollen with a white ring around the bite.
The skin lesion you described sounds a lot like the rash associated with Lyme Disease, which also can cause long-term neurological damage and effects if untreated. Was your friend ever tested for this?
I agree with PBL! When you mentioned the white ring around the bite (+ subsequent seizures) my first thought was Borrelia (the bacteria transmitted by ticks which causes Lyme disease).

In the early stage of Lyme disease antibiotics like doxycycline, amoxicillin or cefuroxime axetil are used as oral treatment. In the later stage drugs like ceftriaxone or penicillin are used. I'm not a MD but I have seen two cases of Lyme disease among friends here in Denmark. The ring around the bite may look like this;
 
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pitbulllady

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I agree with PBL! When you mentioned the white ring around the bite (+ subsequent seizures) my first thought was Borrelia (the bacteria transmitted by ticks which causes Lyme disease).

In the early stage of Lyme disease antibiotics like doxycycline, amoxicillin or cefuroxime axetil are used as oral treatment. In the later stage drugs like ceftriaxone or penicillin are used. I'm not a MD but I have seen two cases of Lyme disease among friends here in Denmark. The ring around the bite may look like this (source: Wikipedia):
Often, the red outer ring in the Lyme rash might not be clearly visible, although the white ring around the center of the "bulls-eye" will be. Like Snark said, Penicillin, especially in large or prolonged doses, can also cause seizures and other neurological issues, but I'd definitely suspect Lyme Disease as the initial cause of the problem. It's just so irritating that a spider is so often the primary scapegoat in cases like this, simply because the afflicted person has seen a spider or knew that there were spiders in the building where they worked/lived. If the actual tick bite gets infected due to mouth parts having been left behind, which often does occur, you can get a really nasty local skin infection, and many of the ticks that harbor Lyme and other tick-borne illnesses are very small and may easily be brushed off, leaving behind their mouth parts, without the bitten person even knowing they've been bitten. The initial post is only "scary" for spider lovers because it's yet-another classic example of a spider getting blamed for an illness that has doctors stumped, although given the frequency with which such drugs can cause such neurological reactions, and given the press around Lyme Disease, you'd think these doctors would know to look at those causative agents. Guess not; it's just too easy to say, "oh, well, there are spiders where this guy works, so a spider must have done this". That lack of medical expertise in people who are supposed to know better really IS scary!

pitbulllady
 

Dan Wulf

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The time span between bite and first seizure seems somehow short for Lyme disease - but if your friend has never been examined for Borreliosis he should get a test ASAP!
 

Anonymity82

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http://jac.oxfordjournals.org/content/45/1/5.fullDoes your friend, "steve" get any commisary pay for being injured at work? Maybe a lawsuit is in order?
He can't prove it happened at work so he didn't file for it. He said it was close to 80 thousand too!

---------- Post added 10-06-2012 at 09:41 PM ----------

Thanks everyone! I'll ask him about the lyme disease but it was like a week or a bit more after he noticed the bite that he had his first seizure.The bite/mark was in an awkward spot and he didn't get to see it very well. Thanks for all your help!
 

The Snark

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If he experienced the seizure(s) pre treatment Penicillin would be ruled out and Lyme and similar is a distinct possibility. Would be a good idea to get tested for Penicillin allergy just in case. Best wishes to your friend and fingers crossed.
 

pitbulllady

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He can't prove it happened at work so he didn't file for it. He said it was close to 80 thousand too!

---------- Post added 10-06-2012 at 09:41 PM ----------

Thanks everyone! I'll ask him about the lyme disease but it was like a week or a bit more after he noticed the bite that he had his first seizure.The bite/mark was in an awkward spot and he didn't get to see it very well. Thanks for all your help!
Given that the rash was in an "awkward spot", it probably was there for quite some time before it was noticed, and by that time, the disease had already made significant progress. This sounds very similar to what happened to NASCAR Sprint Cup rookie driver Trevor Bayne last year, who became seriously ill with systemic symptoms that included neurological ones, in this case partial paralysis. It was only after he'd spent several days in a hospital that a doctor thought to do a Lyme test, which showed up positive. Still, even with the tests, pinning down this disease can be difficult, and interestingly enough, Bane was in NC when he became ill, although he received treatment in Virginia so the CDC does not list him as a NC Lyme case.

pitbulllady
 

Anonymity82

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I asked him if he was tested but haven't heard back from him yet. It's very interesting and I wish I could look over his paperwork to get timelines etc...

He kind of wants to move on because it took up so much of his time and was a horrible experience. Sounds like he's not out of the woods for seizures which is why he needs the meds still. Sucks.

He said he saw the wound but couldn't get a close enough look to see a bite mark or anything. Just the swelling, redness and white ring.

---------- Post added 10-07-2012 at 05:19 PM ----------

Tested for Lyme. Negative.

---------- Post added 10-07-2012 at 05:30 PM ----------

Okay,

Only two seizures within three months, while on antibiotics. The doctors ran sleep deprivation test yet were unable to make him seize no matter what. They have him on permanent meds for seizures but only because they don't know why the hell it happened in the first place. I guess they can't prove it was the antibiotics.
 

Ciphor

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Ya typical. Spider blamed but no spider seen. I doubt a spider was involved. Insects are far more likely. My 2 cents.
 

The Snark

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I asked him if he was tested but haven't heard back from him yet. It's very interesting and I wish I could look over his paperwork to get timelines etc...

He kind of wants to move on because it took up so much of his time and was a horrible experience. Sounds like he's not out of the woods for seizures which is why he needs the meds still. Sucks.

He said he saw the wound but couldn't get a close enough look to see a bite mark or anything. Just the swelling, redness and white ring.

---------- Post added 10-07-2012 at 05:19 PM ----------

Tested for Lyme. Negative.

---------- Post added 10-07-2012 at 05:30 PM ----------

Okay,

Only two seizures within three months, while on antibiotics. The doctors ran sleep deprivation test yet were unable to make him seize no matter what. They have him on permanent meds for seizures but only because they don't know why the hell it happened in the first place. I guess they can't prove it was the antibiotics.
I'll give you an infuriating hint here. Nerve damage diagnosis is as a rule, bass ackwards. As explained to me by a couple of neurologists, it can be all but impossible to detect nerve damage. The lions share of the testing they do is to rule out everything else. Once everything conceivable is ruled out and symptoms persist, nerve damage is suspect. The more that causes are ruled out the stronger the likelihood of nerve damage. (You see, nerves are pretty much like self regenerating intelligent electric wires. There is no visible way to tell if they are conducting the electrical impulses properly or not. Measurements of nerve function can be off by several thousand percent as the amount of voltage required to trigger a nerve is down in the nano volt region. A few pico volts either way can cause a misfire. And of course, your brain is essentially the worlds largest clusterf*ck of electrical wires).

So no, they can't prove it was or rule out the antibiotic. Nerve damage can show up years or even decades after the fact from zillions of possible causes, or a series of cumulative causes as in my case.
 
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Formerphobe

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Tested for Lyme. Negative.
Here's another monkey wrench for you...
Several years ago after several months of multiple symptoms and expensive diagnostics, I ended up at an epidemiologist who informed me, in his expert opinion, that the Lyme tests were useless. A negative Lyme test does not always mean negative. After several months of a more appropriate antibiotic, I was 'cured'. Same epidemiologist, and others, don't feel that, once infected, anyone is ever truly cleared of the Lyme spirochete.
 

The Snark

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Here's another monkey wrench for you...
Several years ago after several months of multiple symptoms and expensive diagnostics, I ended up at an epidemiologist who informed me, in his expert opinion, that the Lyme tests were useless. A negative Lyme test does not always mean negative. After several months of a more appropriate antibiotic, I was 'cured'. Same epidemiologist, and others, don't feel that, once infected, anyone is ever truly cleared of the Lyme spirochete.
I've read the same thing from several sources.
 

Michiel

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Reddish stingsite with white circle is usually caused by tick bites, as already suggested. Is steve tested for Lyme's disease yet?

Verstuurd van mijn GT-I9001 met Tapatalk
 

NikiP

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Arent you located in NC? If your friend is or is nearby, this is the place to go to: http://www.jemsekspecialty.com/index.php

The clinic used to be located in NC, but they moved out of state a while back. They may also be able to refer someone closer.

I had the same experience as Formerphobe. Took months of being diagnosed as "mono" before the real issue was discovered. False negatives are extremely common and a good lyme literate doctor will treat based on symptoms. The bacteria causing lyme at certain points during it'd cycle will basically hide in crystals making it virtually impossible to test. It's also hard to test if any has crossed into the brain.

He may not even have major symptoms until down the road. I was infected at 5, then it came back with a vengence in 11th grade. Took a year to get back to normal. Even dropped out of school. Another year later is when the arthritis set into my knees. I still have residual issues.
 
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