Updated 05 October 2015

British lawyer suffers gruesome spider bite whilst travelling to South Africa

A 40 year old lawyer from the United Kingdom almost lost his leg after suffering a horrific spider bite on a Qatar flight to South Africa.

British lawyer Jonathan Hogg's plans to spend a relaxing holiday in South Africa were ruined before they even began when he was bitten by a venomous spider whilst travelling to the country on Qatar Airlines.

The 40-year-old from Camden explained that he saw a spider running across the floor shortly after feeling a "small, sharp pain" in his leg, the Telegraph explains.

Mistaking the swelling for deep-vein thrombosis, Hogg took some medication instead of immediately seeking treatment after the flight landed. A day later, friends claimed that he see a doctor for the swelling, believing Hogg may have been bitten by a spider.

"The pain was like nothing I've been through in my life. By the time I got to hospital my leg was bursting open, there was pus, it was black."

Hogg underwent three operations and a skin graft to repair the wound, spending over a month in a Cape Town hospital, according to Sky News.

 Hogg claims he only knew the extent of the damage after his first operation when he saw the hole in his leg. Doctors informed him that he may have lost his leg if he had waited any longer.

brown recluse spider

A highly-venomous brown recluse spider is thought to have caused the damage to Jonathan Hogg's leg (WikiCommons)

Various media reports have suggested that Hogg may have been bitten by a brown recluse spider, although it is unclear whether this finding came from Hogg's medical team or not.

The US Library of Medicine describes the brown recluse spider Loxosceles reclusa as highly venomous. When provoked or touched or pressed against the skin by accident, the brown recluse injects a powerful venom that may or may not be felt. Pain usually develops within the first several hours after being bitten and children may have serious reactions. In some cases the bite can kill the skin tissues at its site, leading to painful sores and deep scarring.

The Kansas State University’s Department of Entomology  states for most people a bite would only result in a pimple-like swelling, but some, like Jonathan, will develop a necrotic wound with blood and pus which is slow to heal, with the potential for a secondary infection.

Reactions to a brown recluse bite vary depending on the amount of venom injected and the individual’s sensitivity levels, reports The Ohio State University. Some people may experience a delayed reaction, others an immediate reaction, and others no reaction at all.


A wound caused by a brown recluse spider bite

Hogg had taken extensive leave from his job to spend time diving with sharks in Cape Town and working with orangutans at a sanctuary in Borneo.

Hogg now plans to sue Qatar Airlines who he claims have refused to accept responsibility for the incident. A spokesperson for Qatar Airlines however claims that they only received one interaction on social media from Hogg and are yet to receive any legal notice. The airline also indicates that no complaint was raised with any of the staff on the flight at the time of the incident.

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