I'll never complain about a midgie bite again...

  Brumas 21:37 PM 03 Aug 12

My distraught sister has just phoned to tell me that her husband is in hospital after being bit by, as yet unknown, insect.

He works as a ship's agent which necessitates him boarding ships in the port of Hull and doing what a ship's agent does. Apparently he was between decks and he felt a bite on his foot, as he was wearing steel toe capped leather boots it must have been one helluva bite!

On reaching the captain's cabin he managed to get his boot off a rapidly swelling foot to discover puncture marks on his big toe but no sign of the wee beastie what did it. His whole leg began swelling and he was rushed to hospital, his leg by now three times as big as his other leg. His blood pressure and temperature were sky high and, understandably, he felt pretty crap. His leg has ballooned so much that the skin is splitting and blistering and breaking into open sores. He is on intravenous antibiotics and painkillers and here is the worrying part, large doses of a 'purple' pill because they think the beastie has burrowed inside him and the pills are meant to kill whatever it is!!!

I asked my sister where the ship had sailed from but I'm afraid she didn't know as she was too upset to asked. Any further developments I'll post as and when.

  john bunyan 21:43 PM 03 Aug 12

Hope it was not a snake.Hope he improves soon.

  Brumas 21:47 PM 03 Aug 12

ohn bunyan Thanks. He doesn't think it was as there were no signs of one, but having said that I don't know how dark it was where he was.

  john bunyan 21:55 PM 03 Aug 12

In that case it sounds like a spider.

  Aitchbee 21:56 PM 03 Aug 12

Brumas - I appreciate/understand your sad unfortunate news.I wish your brother-in-law a comprehensive and speedy recovery.

  Brumas 21:59 PM 03 Aug 12

Aitchbee Thanks for that.

  spuds 23:35 PM 03 Aug 12


When you said sudden swelling, my first thoughts were sand fly bites, then a scorpion sting, but the big toe and enclosed steel toe cap boots have made it an even bigger mystery. Jiggers or chigoe fleas could be another thing, they usually attack the feet and penetrate the skin. These originate from the tropics and places like Brazil.

You will have to update us, when more information becomes available.

  Forum Editor 23:59 PM 03 Aug 12

The fact that your brother in law felt a bite, and found puncture marks (plural) on his toe does make it likely that the culprit was a spider or a snake. The hospital obviously has reason to doubt that, however, if as you say they have reason to believe that something has burrowed into him.

Snake bites often cause a rapid drop in blood pressure, not a rise, although some do cause severe local swelling. The raised blood pressure and temperature experienced by your brother in law could be the result of an allergic reaction, although anaphylaxis also causes a drop in blood pressure.

It's a mystery, but whatever the cause, I hope your brother in law makes a speedy recovery.

  Brumas 09:07 AM 04 Aug 12

Thanks for all who expressed concern, I spoke to my sister late last night however things haven't altered. I shall post any news as and when.

  hssutton 09:35 AM 04 Aug 12

My wife had a similar experience in Sri Lanka. A slight difference was she felt no bite. In a matter of minutes her arm had doubled in size and was rock hard and she was in a great deal of pain.

At the hotel reception a lady told my wife that it was almost certainly a spider bite and that she must find the puncture marks as often bits of the spiders fangs would be left behind and these must be removed.

It took the Sri Lankan lady several minutes to locate the almost invisable punture marks. She then apply a balm (no idea what it was)and then proceded to remove tiny fragment of what she said where parts of the spiders fangs. Fortunately my wife was a lover of whisky which acted as an anesthetic.

The following day the swelling had subsided somewhat and we where able to continue with a fabulous holiday

  Forum Editor 13:16 PM 04 Aug 12


I lived in Sri Lanka for a few years, and heard stories of spider bites. The island is home to one of the world's most poisonous spiders - the Fringed Ornamental Tarantula. It's bite causes intense pain, and can result in coma and even death. I saw one, and it looked beautiful - I gave it a very wide berth.

Your wife's experience sounds awful, and I'm glad you were able to go on and enjoy your holiday. Sri Lanka is truly one of the world's most beautiful islands.


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