Doctors in New South Wales have administered Australia’s ‘biggest ever’ antivenom dose to save a ten-year-old boy who was bitten by a funnel web spider.
The child, Matthew Mitchell, was rushed to Gosford hospital in Australia’s central coast region after a male funnel web spider, which had been hiding in his shoe, bit his finger.
At the hospital, the ten-year-old was given 12 vials of antivenom, the most ever administered to a patient in Australia.
Tim Faulkner, the Australian Reptile Park general manager, told the Australian Associated Press (AAP) “I’ve never heard of it, it’s incredible. And to walk out of the hospital a day later with no effects is a testament to the antivenom.”
The spider was captured and taken to the reptile park to join the antivenom milking program. Through the program, the park milks the spiders and then sends the venom to a Melbourne laboratory to be made into live-saving antivenom.
Sydney male funnel web spiders have venom powerful enough to kill a human in 15 minutes, but with the advent of antivenom, there have been no recorded fatalities from the species.
Up to 30-40 people are bitten by funnel-webs each year, however there have only been 13 recorded deaths from the arachnids.