Brown recluse spider bite sends Nova Scotia man to hospital

venemous brown recluse spider in dry grass Sari ONeal/Shutterstock

A Nova Scotia man is recovering after what he thought was a mere mosquito bite turned out to be a venomous spider bite – likely from the deadly brown recluse.

On Aug. 2, Stephen McKellar first noticed a small mark on his right thigh. Thinking it wasn’t anything serious, him and his wife continued on with their planned vacation the next day to Fox Harbour in Nova Scotia. But the next day, the mark had swelled into a large red lesion that covered the back of his thigh.

“I’ve been stung by just about everything and don’t have any reaction to anything, so when something like this is happening it was like, all right, maybe there’s a bit of an infection or something like that,” he told the CBC.

McKellar’s wife, Megan, took him to the emergency room where a doctor diagnosed it likely as a bite from a brown recluse spider. McKellar spent the next four days in the hospital, where he was treated with antibiotics through IV.

In a post on Facebook, Megan said the doctor told her that the brown recluse spider that bit her husband likely travelled to Nova Scotia from the southern United States on either the grapes or bananas they had in their house.

From now on, she said she’s going to be sure to check their fruit in the future.

“I cannot imagine what would have happened if this spider bit one of our girls, after seeing what it’s done to a grown 6-foot, 250-pound man,” wrote Megan.

Along with the black widow, the brown recluse spider has a necrotic venom that can be deadly to humans. It lives in the south-central part of the United States, although they’ve been known to hitchhike to Canada. Last month, a British Columbia woman had her leg amputated from developing flesh-eating disease after she was bitten by what her family says was a brown recluse spider.

HealthLink BC says if you a spider bite develops into an open sore and the surrounding tissue turns black, get it checked out by your doctor.