Wellington – A Canadian tourist spent 16 days in hospital after suffering heart inflammation when he was apparently bitten on the penis by a poisonous katipo spider following a nude swim on a New Zealand beach.
The 22-year-old man left his clothes in sand dunes on the Northland beach and fell asleep after his swim,according to a report on the case in the New Zealand Medical Journalist published Friday.
“He woke to find his penis swollen and painful with a red mark on the shaft suggestive of a bite. He rapidly developed generalised muscle pains, fever, headache, photophobia [light sensitivity] and vomiting,”wrote Dr Nigel Harrison, of Whangarei Hospital.
By the time he reached hospital, his penis was severely swollen, his blood pressure was up and his heart beat was racing.
It was assumed he had been bitten by a katipo spider and he was given anti-venom medicine. But he was also treated for continuing heart problems at two other hospitals before flying home.
The report said it was the first known case of myocarditis – heart inflammation – following a bite by a katipo spider, the only dangerously poisonous creature in New Zealand.
Only two deaths from katipo bites have been recorded – both in the 19th century.