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Poison spider clamp stepped up.

INTENSE investigations into black widow spiders discovered in Barbar are continuing, with a Health Ministry team carrying out thorough inspections of gardens and houses in the surrounding area. So far, two inspected houses were found to have the spiders living in the vicinity, with live samples being removed from one household.

A pesticide team visited the area yesterday afternoon where they proceeded to spray gardens with insecticide.

Health Ministry environmental health chief Abdulla Al Sitrawi first led a team to visit a house on Tuesday and has continued to carry out tests in the area.

"This investigation is very thorough as it is important we check all surrounding areas for the spiders," he told the GDN.

Mr Al Sitrawi advised all residents in Barbar to keep their houses clean as the black widows have been found in deserted and unused areas such as garages and sheds.

"As for killing any spiders you find, this can be done with any form of aerosol can or powder, even washing powder will work, but one of the best preventions is to keep your house as clean as possible," he said.

The Health Ministry is currently putting together an awareness campaign to offer precautionary advice and instructions in case further cases of spiders are discovered.

Barbar resident Amira Al Hussaini spent all of yesterday armed with a hoover cleaning her house after she found the Health Ministry team outside carrying out an inspection of her garden.

"The whole day has been hijacked by spraying insecticide and constantly cleaning my house," she said.

An inspector later visited her property and confirmed that they had found live samples of black widow spiders around her house.

"I am really scared. This is real and not a joke," said Ms Al Hussaini.

"Last week I had a barbeque and there were seven children here playing in the garden.

"I remember seeing some spiders, but not realising what they were, we just shooed them away.

"There should have been an awareness campaign as soon as the first report was made. Instead the ministry ignored it so as not to scare people.

Dangerous

"We cannot continue living like this, someone will get hurt, these spiders are dangerous."

Another resident in the area, who did not want to be named, is not as worried about the situation, purely on the basis that she saw black widows a few years ago at another compound.

"It's not as if this is something new that happened a few days ago," she said.

"They haven't just appeared in Bahrain, they have always been around.

"The ministry team came to my house, were there for 20 minutes and then left without telling me.

"I still have no idea whether I have black widows around my house or not."

The first visit to Barbar by the ministry was in response to a letter sent by a British resident and published in the GDN earlier this week.

She said she had found what she believed to be either black or brown widow spiders on her husband's bike, her children's toys, the window frames of her house and the washing line.

The spiders were preserved in vinegar before being collected by the ministry.

Health officials previously said that the spiders were not native to Bahrain or the wider region and may have been transported here in furniture or other items from overseas.

Residents and citizens are urged to contact them immediately if they come across any mysterious spiders.

The black widow is a medium-sized spider whose body is about a half-inch long.

Common to North America, they are distinguishable by a shiny, black, globular abdomen with the distinctive red hourglass on the underside.

The northern black widow has a row of red spots down the middle of the upper surface of its abdomen and two crosswise bars on the under surface.

Markings can also be yellow or white, and the spider itself may be brown or have red legs.

They are considered highly dangerous as they inject neurotic venom called latrotoxin, which results in the condition latrodectism.

In the case of being bitten by a black widow, the victim should put cold water on the area, then ice, raise the bitten area above the heart and immediately go to Accident and Emergency.

Mr Al Sitrawi said that hospitals in Bahrain had sufficient supplies of the anti-venom.

Death from a black widow spider bite is rare, with children and the elderly more seriously affected than young adults.

alicia@gdn.com.bh

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Date:Sep 11, 2011
Words:766
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