A DAD-of-two had both his legs amputated and is fighting for his life after a spider bite became infected with a flesh-eating bug.
Terry Pareja has already had nine ops, but faces losing both arms as well – if the infection continues to spread.
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Terry Pareja has had both legs amputated and is now fighting for his life after being bitten by a spider
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The 65-year-old was visiting his sister in Australia when doctors believe he was bitten by a white tailed spider
The 65-year-old was in his sister Raquel Ogledy’s garden last month, when he was bitten on his right leg by what is believed to have been a white tailed spider.
Hours after the incident in the suburbs of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, his leg started to swell.
A day later it become very painful and, 24 hours after that, he was taken by his 68-year-old sister to her local GP.
The doctor called an ambulance and Terry was rushed to Victoria’s Horsham Hospital, about an hour away.
There, he had emergency surgery to amputate his right leg, in order to stop the rapid spread of bacteria.
Doctors suspected the bug was one of two rare illnesses.
The first was rare necrotising arachnidism, which causes ulceration and skin loss.
And the second suspected culprit was necrotising fasciitis, a serious bacterial infection that affects the tissue beneath the skin, surrounding muscles and organs.
After the operation he was airlifted to the bigger Alfred Hospital in Melbourne where – as the bacteria spread – he had the second leg amputated.
Weeks on, he remains critically ill and is vomiting blood in the Melbourne hospital’s intensive care unit.
His kidneys are failing and his blood pressure is high.
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The dad-of-two, pictured with his grandkids Diane and Drey, has already had nine ops but could face losing both arms as well, if the infection spreads
Having already undergone nine operations, he might also need to have his arms amputated, if the infection spreads.
His 27-year-old daughter, Jeffmarey Pareja has flown from the family’s home in the Philippines to look after him.
Terry’s wife, Emma, also has health problems and Jeffmarey’s brother, Jeffrey, does not have a passport, meaning neither could travel.
Jeffmarey, who is five months’ pregnant and has two other children, Diane, four, and Drey, six, said: “My dad went to Australia to visit my aunt and uncle for they have not seen each other for the longest time.
“A spider bit him, but he really wasn’t aware, not until he felt sick.
“But then a few hours later, his foot began to hurt and then swell eventually.”
COULD YOU BE INFECTED BY A FLESH-EATING BUG?
Doctors treating Terry Pareja suspect he was infected with one of two vicious bugs, necrotising arachnidism or necrotising fasciitis.
What is necrotising arachnidism?
The bug is a type of skin inflammation and ulceration that is caused by the bites of some spiders.
In some cases, the reaction is so severe that the patient can lose large amounts of skin and tissue around the bite.
The white tailed spider, and the black house spider have both been linked to the condition.
Most people who are bitten only suffer mild reactions, but in rare cases it can be very serious, even life-threatening.
What is necrotising fasciitis?
Necrotising fasciitis is a rare but serious bacterial infection that affects the tissue beneath the skin, the surrounding muslces and organs.
It’s often referred to as a “flesh-eating” disease, though the bacteria don’t eat the flesh.
Rather, they release toxins that damage the nearby tissue.
The condition can start from a relatively minor injury, such as a small cut, but can progress and get worse very quickly.
If it’s not recognised quickly, the condition can become life-threatening.
Symptoms can develop quickly, and early signs include:
- a small but painful cut or scratch on the skin
- intense pain that’s put of proportion to the damage on the skin
- a high temperature, or fever – similar to flu
After a few days, it’s likely you’ll notice:
- swelling or redness in the area, which will often feel firm to touch
- diarrhoea and vomiting
- dark patches on the skin that turn into fluid-filled blisters
Necrotising fasciitis is a medical emergency that can spread very quickly. It is important if you suspect you are suffering with it, you dial 999 immediately.
She revealed how once he was admitted to hospital, her retired sales worker dad’s condition rapidly worsened.
“Now he is in intensive care,” she added.
“His kidneys don’t work and he is aided by kidney support.”
Though doctors can’t be 100 per cent sure, they believe Terry was bitten by a white tailed spider.
The species is found in southern and eastern Australia, and measures up to two centimetres, is greyish-brown in colour and has glossy-looking legs.
Jeffmarey continued: “He is not fully coherent and is struggling a lot.
“He is in a great deal of pain.
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Terry, third from left, is currently critically ill and is vomiting blood, while he is cared for in intensive care
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Doctors believe Terry has been infected with either necrotising archanidism or necrotising fasciitis
“We don’t believe his illness is caused from any poison released by the spider, as the spider’s venom isn’t poisonous to humans, but rather by bacteria passed in via the wound.”
Terry travelled without insurance and as a result his hospital bills are mounting up.
Family members are now clubbing together to help pay his medical fees, with Raquel even planning to sell her house.
However, the treatment looks set to cost thousands of pounds, with the family unsure how long Terry is expected to stay in hospital.
A spider bit him, but he really wasn’t aware, not until he felt sick. But then a few hours later, his foot began to hurt and then swell eventuallyJeffmarey Pareja daughter
Now the family crowdfunding to raise the $30,000 Australian dollars (£18,600), to pay for her dad’s treatment so far, although the final total could be much higher.
Jeffmarey continued: “We do not have much and we are not rich.
“I am knocking on your hearts to help with my dad’s medication and hospital bills.”
Government guidelines in Victoria, Australia, say a bite from a white tailed spider, “can be painful but is unlikely to cause necrotising arachnidism, a rare condition characterised by ulceration and skin loss”.
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Terry’s family are now crowdfunding to raise money to cover hist treatment costs
They warn: “Occasionally, weals, blistering or local ulceration have been reported – symptoms together known medically as necrotising arachnidism, although recent research suggests that the white tailed spider bite is probably not linked to this condition.
“In most cases, the bite from a white tailed spider only causes a mild reaction, including itching and skin discolouration, which usually resolves after a few weeks.”
The advice added: “There are no specific first aid treatments for a white tailed spider bite, except the use of icepacks to help relieve the swelling.
“You should not use antibiotics. Always see your doctor if any spider bite does not clear up.”
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