News State Victoria News Man may lose arm after both legs amputated due to white-tailed spider bite

Man may lose arm after both legs amputated due to white-tailed spider bite

white-tailed spider
Tourist Terry Pareja has had both legs amputated, with fears he could lose both arms as well. Photo: GoFundMe
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A man who had his legs amputated after a suspected white-tailed spider bite in northwest Victoria may also lose an arm.

Filipino tourist Terry Pareja was visiting relatives in Birchip when he is thought to have been bitten in the last week of February, but he didn’t seek medical attention until days after the incident.

He was unaware he had been bitten on his right leg until it began to swell 24 hours later – but there was no doctor available on the weekend in the country town.

By the time the local doctor opened on the following Monday, Mr Pareja’s foot was black and swollen, his relatives say.

He was rushed to Horsham hospital, where his right leg was amputated.

The flesh-eating bacteria progressively got worse, as Mr Pareja was airlifted to The Alfred hospital in Melbourne, where he his left leg and part of his bowel and spleen were also removed.

“Doctors think it was a white-tailed spider that bit him,” daughter Jeffmarey Pareja posted on an online fundraising page.

Brother-in-law Ray Ogleby said the early symptoms were similar to a cold, but things turned for the worse over the weekend.

“He could hardly walk on Saturday and on Sunday (his leg) started to turn black,” he told 3AW.

“There’s no doctor service in Birchip on Saturday and Sunday so he waited until Monday.” 

white-tailed spider
White-tailed spiders get their name from a distinctive white patch on their abdomen. Photo: CSIRO

Mr Pareja’s sister, Raquel Ogleby, said it could take between 12-18 months before the father of two could return home, with fears he could lose both arms.

She said her brother’s kidneys were also not working and he was being aided with kidney support machinery.

A GoFundMe page for Mr Pareja has raised more than $7700 so far but his family says they’ll need $30,000 to cover his medical bills.