Cape Town woman dies from spider bite

2012-08-15 09:47

Cape Town - A Western Cape businesswoman died on Tuesday morning, two weeks after being bitten by a poisonous sac spider, according to a report on Wednesday.

Sandra Carpenter, 53, was the sole proprietor of the accounting firm Sandra Carpenter and Co, in the Strand, Beeld reported.

Her sister Nila Nel told the newspaper she initially did not realise she had been bitten by a spider.

"She was a diabetic, and after the bite, her sugar levels shot through the roof. We started looking for the cause of the infection, and eventually found the spider bite in her groin area," she said.

Doctors began treating Carpenter, but the area surrounding the bite soon developed into a festering hole the size of a large coin.

Tests then revealed that the source of the infection was a spider bite.

Beeld reported that it was thought the spider's toxin attacked Carpenter's internal organs, in particular her lungs.

Her condition deteriorated and she was moved to a hospital intensive care unit, but doctors were unable to save her.

  • sharon.truebodyvice - 2012-08-15 10:18

    RIP Sandra Carpenter xx

  • man.zanilla.73 - 2012-08-15 10:25

    I am no Arachnologists or Entemologist but the picture with is article is not of a sac spider. At least not of the vareity that you find in the western cape. If you want to know what it looks like google image it. Most of the pictures displayed are correct.

      brian.fargher - 2012-08-15 10:46

      Illustrated spider is not a sac spider - wrong colour and eye pattern wrong. Come on all those arachnologists out there - what spider did Shutterstock provide ?

      chez.kri - 2012-08-15 10:48

      @Chum and Man. Thanks for the info although I now have something new to fear from spiders!

      alfred.neumann.142 - 2012-08-15 11:02

      I think you're right. The sacs in Gauteng are straw coloured and have shiny black mandibles. They also have quite a distinctive way of walking, almost like they're drunk. They're nasty buggers since they go walkabout at night and get tangled up in clothing and bedding very easily. As a seasoned arachnophobe I've never bought into the mantra of "leave them alone and they'll leave you alone". Bollocks. If it's got eight eyes it must be exterminated, end of story.

      shaakira.thomasbagus - 2012-12-05 10:54

      can i get your email adress please?

  • bond.ndalo - 2012-08-15 11:22


  • Harold Chisimba - 2012-08-15 11:33

    RIP, Mama Sandrae.

  • Harold Chisimba - 2012-08-15 11:33

    RIP, Mama Sandrae.

  • flysouth - 2012-08-15 11:41

    During the war in Vietnam between the US and N.Vietnam, a platoon seargent was explaining to some new recruits about the dangers of snakes in that country. "Guys there are 36 kinds of snake in Vietnam, and 35 of them can inflict a fatal bite - be real careful of snakes at all times". One recruit pipes up 'But Sarge, how can we tell which is the harmless one?" "Son, with odds like that I think you can afford to make a sweeping and generalised judgement, and kill any you see". Same goes for spiders I reckon.

  • petrus.correia - 2012-08-15 12:32

    I was also bitten by a spider in Cape Town that same weekend. The spider is also thought to be a sac spider, must have bitten me while I was sleeping on my hand. My hand has been treated and has recovered well.

  • phae.rayden - 2012-08-15 12:45

    Watch this lead to an increase in spraying poison everywhere in case people have a sac spider in their home. The comment above, regarding killing everything in sight as a precaution,is just the dumb kind of thinking that's destroying our environment. This poor women was diabetic and it was for this reason she sadly passed away. Condolences to her familiy and friends.

      jacqui.daanevanrensburg - 2012-08-15 13:33

      Phaw.rayden. me too, I hope no more spraying, everyone here already goes beserk with their poisons in the garden. As for killing? What can I say, primitive thinking destroys.

      Chumscrubber1 - 2012-08-15 17:00

      Well if it makes you feel better I never spray poison in my home unless essential. I've been bitten and actually am a bit arachnophoebic (the give me the heebies - a bit), but will never just kill a spider. I'm a farmer, spiders are my allies.

  • jonathan.leeming.7 - 2012-08-15 12:52

    I have a problem with this spider bite article. Most of them contain very dodgy facts. Spiders are blamed for many symptoms that may be spider bite like. The fact that the spider was not seen raises questions. The location of the bite is very uncharacteristic of a Sac spider bite. The photo used is not a local species either. Septicemia is a huge problem in diabetics. It can be caused by a variety of different causes, many of which are not spider related. Dodgy article, full of assumptions. Journalists should write about things they know something about.

      zander.vanderwalt.5 - 2012-08-15 20:48

      I agree Jonathan, now every concerned citizen out there will be crushing harmless little wandering spiders..

  • graham.greeff - 2012-08-15 15:49

    Jacqui.daanvanresburg How can you post a comment like that re what type of wh--re are you. What are you saying and where or which planet do you come from. I have reported this to facebook and everywhere else. Go away !

  • veritas.odium.paret - 2012-08-15 16:01

    This isnt good news for a recovering arachnophobe. I literally spend my entire childhood at war with and terrorized by spiders but learning about them has eased things up a lot. Still, reading stories like this or seeing a new species I didnt know was around sure brings back the old chills.

  • julie.j.vanrensburg - 2012-08-15 17:58

    I hate spiders and am terrified of them - they are downright sneaky and if any spider - regardless of type - comes into the house, he/she is very quickly disposed of as this house is not large enough for the two of us... Not too long ago I got rid of some black widows and a violin spider that were in my backyard. I don't mind snakes, though - I've handled qjuite a few in my time while still living at the coast. Nah - at least I know where I stand with snakes, but spiders - 'nyet, spasibo' (no thanks...)

  • anneke.croucamp - 2012-08-15 20:16

    Whoever wrote this article on the woman's death following a spider bite is an IDIOT. Firstly, the photo is not that of a Sac spider. Hell, its not even in the same family! The photo is of a Wandering spider in the family Heteropodidae. Secondly, there are no (zero) definitive test/s for any spider bite in Southern Africa. Therefore, there can be no conclusive proof that this fatality can be ascribed to a Sac spider. The author was extremely irresponsible.

  • zander.vanderwalt.5 - 2012-08-15 20:44

    With all due respect to Sandra and her family, Anneke is right about the spider family. Some people have a slight allergic reaction to wandering spider bites which have a mild cytotoxic venom and causes no secondary infections. However depending on the person's state of health, a Sac spider's bite can have severe complications and even cause death due to organ failure if not treated in time. RIP Sandra.

  • patricia.giraudeau - 2012-09-04 14:23

    I was bitten two weeks before this lady (Durban) 'Violin spider' for 3 weeks I wished that death came quickly. RIP Sandra Carpenter :(

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