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Florida man dies after being paralyzed by brown recluse spider bite

The Brown Recluse Spider, though usually not having a fatal bite, was responsible for a Florida man's death.
The Brown Recluse Spider, though usually not having a fatal bite, was responsible for a Florida man's death.Ladyb695, Creative Commons

According to the Polk County Health Department, a Florida man bitten by a brown recluse spider while renovating a house died this week, ABC News reported Feb. 28.

“It bit him right on the back of his neck and rotted out to the vertebrae,” Bill Reese, the man's father, told WFTS in Tampa. “He wasn’t afraid of anything. He thought he was invincible. But he wasn’t.”

Ron Reese, 62, was bitten by a brown recluse spider while renovating a house in Mulberry, Fla. He didn't seek medical treatment because he was certain the bite would heal on its own.

He would eventually be paralyzed in half of his body, his father said.

“I thank the Lord every day that he’s out of his misery,” he told WFTS.

Death from a bite from the small arachnid is uncommon. However, the National Institute of Health advises on its website to, once a brown recluse spider bite has been identified, seek out medical treatment as soon as possible. Symptoms from the bite can include chills, itching, fever, nausea, reddish or purple discoloration around the bite area, sweating, and an ulcer (a break in the skin) in the area of the bite. The bite of a brown recluse spider can sometimes even lead to an individual going comatose, bloody urine, becoming jaundiced, experiencing kidney failure and even seizures.

According to The American Association of Poison Control, there have been only five deaths attributable to spiders since 2002. The brown recluse was responsible for two of those deaths.

The brown recluse spider is also responsible for between 50 and 100 bites ever year in the South, according to Dr. Dona Seger, the executive director of the Tennessee Poison Center and a professor at Vanderbilt University (per ABC News).