Accidents caused by venomous animals represent a serious public health problem; however, cases of spider accidents are relatively poorly reported. Even in the Revista da Sociedade Brasileira de Medicina Tropical, including all six editions from 2016, only two papers were published on accidents involving scorpions1,2and one involving snakes3, but no information about spiders has been reported.
On December 6, 2015, a biologist field assistant was bitten by a spider of the genus Phoneutria (Figure 1A) while he was packing his bags inside his house. Soon after the accident, he began to experience intense local pain in the right hand, tingling, radiating pain to the right arm, and local sweating (Figure 1B); these symptoms were compatible with those of phoneutrism. On December 5, 2016, in the same protected area, seven specimens of spiders of the genus Phoneutria were found inside the house. The surroundings of the house contain open fields with great amounts of grass, which is a common environment to encounter several species of spiders.
This report describes actual observations of the risks of spider accidents to which biologists and researchers in general are subjected to during fieldwork and one case of phoneutrism inside a researcher’s house in a protected area in the State of São Paulo.