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Dad has BOTH legs amputated after being 'bitten by flesh-eating spider' as he fights for life in hospital

Mirror logo Mirror 5/04/2017 Scarlet Howes

  © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc   A dad-of-two had both his legs amputated after a spider bite became infected with a flesh-eating bug.

Terry Pareja, 65, was in his sister Raquel Ogledy’s garden in late February this year, 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 - understood to be either rare necrotising arachnidism, characterised by ulceration and skin loss; or necrotising fasciitis, a rare but serious bacterial infection, affecting 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.

  © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc   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.

Having already undergone nine operations, he might also need to have his arms amputated, as the infection takes hold.

His 27-year-old daughter, Jeffmarey Pareja, who works in publishing, 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.

Five months' pregnant Jeffmarey, who has two other children, Diane, four, and Drey, six, explained: “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.”

White-tailed spider. © Shutterstock White-tailed spider. 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 explained. “His kidneys don't work and he is aided by kidney support.”

Although doctors cannot be 100 per cent certain what initially bit him, they believe it was a white tailed spider, a species native to southern and eastern Australia, which measures up to two centimetres, is greyish-brown in colour and boasts glossy legs.

Jeffmarey continued: “He is not fully coherent and is struggling a lot. He is in a great deal of pain.

“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.

  © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc  

“It's so shocking as you don't expect this to happen on a family visit.”

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.”

They say: “Necrotising arachnidism is a type of skin inflammation and ulceration that is caused by the bite of some spiders. Occasionally, the reaction is so severe that the person loses large amounts of skin and needs extensive skin grafts.”

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