A redback spider bite has killed a 22-year-old Australian in what may turn out to be the first such death since the antivenom was first introduced 60 years ago.
Jayden Burleigh, from Sydney’s northern beaches, was reportedly bitten while walking on the north coast of New South Wales last week.
According to the Daily Telegraph, Jayden was treated in hospital for four days after an abscess formed under his left arm, affecting his glands. He was released on Thursday and given a course of antibiotics, but later died on Saturday.
Jayden’s mother, Deborah Burleigh, told the Sydney Morning Herald that the exact cause of Jayden’s death would not be known for several weeks.
“What we do know is that only a week ago he was in hospital, recovering from an infection due to a redback spider bite,”she said. “He had a general anaesthetic to drain a severe abscess at Nambour hospital and was there for four days. He had also just recovered from injuries sustained in a car accident a few weeks prior.”
In tragic circumstances for the family, just eight months ago Jayden’s younger brother, Lachlan was killed in a car crash.
The last recorded death from a redback spider bite was in 1955, a year before the antivenom was developed. Redback spiders are found across Australia and bites occur frequently particularly during the summer months.
According to the Australian Museum, more than 250 people are given antivenom each year, with several milder instances probably going unreported.
A spokesperson for Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service said that due to patient confidentiality legislation, they were unable to comment on the matter.
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