This 10-year-old boy from Montana just celebrated his 10th birthday, one month before he lost his life. Keith Pierce, a student at Three Forks District School in Montana, was brought to the hospital by his parents after they noticed his legs started swelling.
After ruling out cancer, doctors sent him home, but he was rushed to St Vincent Hospital in Billings last Friday when his pain and symptoms worsened.
Two days later, his parents needed to bring him back to the hospital as the boy could no longer tolerate the pain. He underwent emergency surgery, but never woke up. Two days into his coma, Keith’s parents made the heart-breaking decision to end resuscitation efforts. Keith passed away from sepsis. A forensic examination ‘determined the cause of death as severe sepsis due to complications of a spider bite’.
Severe sepsis, which can lead to septic shock, life-threatening inflammation and organ dysfunction, is caused by bacteria or germs. It causes millions of deaths across the world every year.
Doctors concluded the bite was from a brown recluse spider. Also known as the fiddleback spider, the brown recluse spider has venomous, potentially fatal, bite.
The creatures are usually brown or gray in colour and between six to 20 millimeters in length. They typically have markings on the dorsal side of their cephalothorax. These markings include a black line coming from the dorsal side that looks like a violin, resulting in the nickname ‘fiddleback’.
The spiders often build their webs in dry, generally undisturbed locations, including sheds, closets, garages, cellars and other similar places.
In America, their range lies roughly south of a line from south-eastern Nebraska through to southern Iowa, Illinois and Indiana, to south-western Ohio. In the southern states, they are native from central Texas to western Georgia and north to Kentucky.