Spider bites are commonly misdiagnosed. A review published in 2016 showed that 78% of 134 published medical case studies of supposed spider bites did not meet the necessary criteria for a spider bite to be verified. In the case of the two genera with the highest reported number of bites, Loxosceles and Latrodectus, spider bites were not verified in over 90% of the reports. Even when verification had occurred, details of the treatment and its effects were often lacking. Unverified bite reports likely represent many other conditions, both infectious and non-infectious, which can be confused with spider bites. Many of these conditions are far more common and more likely to be the source of necrotic wounds. An affected person may think that a wound is a spider bite when it is actually an infection with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). False reports of spider bites in some cases have led to misdiagnosis and mistreatment, with potentially life-threatening consequences.
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