More People Getting Bit By Poisonous Brown Recluse - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

More People Getting Bit By Poisonous Brown Recluse

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Doctors at Vanderbilt Medical Center said they are seeing more and more patients suffering from spider bites. In Tennessee, one of the most common and most poisonous is the brown recluse spider.

The brown recluse is known to hide in corners and dark spaces and during the hot summer months they take refuge in people's homes.

"They are not aggressive, but will they bite? Yes," said David Cook with the UT Extension Office in Davidson County.

While NewsChannel 5 was interviewing Cook, a colleague spotted a spider on her desk. Sure enough, it was a brown recluse, Tennessee's most poisonous spider, hiding in the corner of her cubicle. Like the Metro employee, more and more mid-state residents are crossing paths with the brown recluse, and doctors said more people are getting bit.

"We have seen a number of spider bites recently," said Dr. Donna Seger, the head of the Vanderbilt Poison Center.

She said most spider bites are not serious, but they can be with a child.

"There is a much greater risk with children because they can get a systemic reaction, high fever, rash and they can develop significant need for blood transfusions." said Seger.

And although rare, it can be deadly. A brown recluse bite unexpectedly claimed the life of 3-year-old Kaylee Davis last fall in Macon County.

Most people come in contact with the brown recluse on clothing because they hide in closets, towels, or any dark space.

"You put a shirt on and the spider is in the sleeve and that's where a lot of people are bitten, or a spider crawls in your bed," said Cook.

He added that most people do have brown recluse in their home. When one homeowner found one, he put out sticky paper and found 130 more.

A brown recluse can be identified by the violin shape on their back, dark brown hair and their second legs are typically longer than their first.

Cook said pest control is the best way to get rid of them.  The only other highly poisonous spider in Tennessee is the black widow.

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