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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.

Image source: Getty Images

  • So sad, this poor family are in my thoughts tonight xx

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  • Wow how scary is this, spiders here are very scary

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  • I wonder if this was one of the spiders in the broccoli? Remember Woolies did a recall of their broccoli because red back spiders had been found in them? They hide in the worst places, I’m surprised it’s been 40 years since a bite killed someone

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  • Its an amazing statistic to be the first death since the antidote was created. It shows the power of medical advances. Incredibly sad for the family he left behind.

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  • The initial redback spider bite didn’t kill him its the secondary infection & subsequent sepsis that did

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  • Very tragic, and I hope it wasn’t a failure of care.

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  • There may be patient confientiality but warnings should be issued in as many ways as possible to alert people to the risk of the spiders being on the move again. It could save many people getting bitten.
    They don’t need to state a person’s name and address, just the areas to be on high alert in

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  • Thats just so horrible.
    Hospitals and Doctors are always telling us…if you dont start improving or it suddenly gets worse then come back.

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  • Very sad story. Can’t imagine what the family are going through losing both children in such a short time frame. Thoughts are with them

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  • This is terrible! Poor guy! RIP

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  • Like it

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  • wow! What a scary experience! Be safe near spiders!

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  • So sad for this family to loose their boys so early.

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  • My thoughts are with the family

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