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J Toxicol Clin Toxicol. 1983-1984;21(4-5):473-85.

Black widow spider bites.


Black widow spiders (Latrodectus species) are found worldwide. Envenomation of humans usually occurs as the result of chance intrusion into the spider's domain by the human. The venom is regarded as one of the most potent biologic toxins. The venom acts by destabilization of cell membranes and degranulation of nerve terminals resulting in the release of neurotransmitters. The clinical picture is characterized by painful muscle spasm and hypertension. The very young, the elderly or enfeebled, and those with cardiovascular disease are at greatest risk. While not always necessary, the most effective treatment is specific antiserum. Muscle relaxants, analgesics and intravenous calcium are useful adjuvant treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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