While most spiders are harmless, here’s a reason to worry about some of the nasty ones: A study conducted by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital finds that some people develop a sudden anemia when bitten by a brown recluse.
The research, published in The Journal of Pediatrics, found that this happened to six previously healthy adolescents who had to be hospitalized for treatment of acute anemia. Although most people bitten by brown recluse spiders do not have to seek medical attention (or even realize they have been bitten), the researchers noted that the spiders’ venom triggers a widespread reaction in about 30 percent of children.
Although what sets off the anemia is puzzling, occasionally the spider bite victims suffer kidney failure and clotting problems. Children seem to be more likely than adults to develop systemic complications.