Zaliah Partrige, from Goonellabah, is comforted by her brother Tobias, 5, and dad Steven while being treated by Dr Priya Shankar in Lismore Base Hospital after being bitten by a red-back spider twice during a boating trip at Evans Head.
Zaliah Partrige, from Goonellabah, is comforted by her brother Tobias, 5, and dad Steven while being treated by Dr Priya Shankar in Lismore Base Hospital after being bitten by a red-back spider twice during a boating trip at Evans Head. CATHY ADAMS

Zaliah twice shy after spider bite

BRAVE eight-year-old Zaliah Partrige, of Goonellabah, was bitten by a red-back spider twice on Saturday.

Zaliah and her brother Tobias, 5, where spending the day on the water with their dad, Steven , at Evans Head.

The family had just returned to the boat ramp at about 3pm when the red-striped menace struck, biting Zaliah on the shoulder.

When Zaliah felt the bite she instinctively picked the critter up in her fingers. It then bit her on the finger too.

Mr Partrige said his daughter remained calm throughout the ordeal during which she was taken by ambulance to Lismore Base Hospital, where she received two shots of anti-venom.

When The Northern Star caught up with Zaliah a short time later she was still in a lot of pain, but was determined to have her story told in order to warn other children to be on the look out for red-backs.

Dr Priya Shankar said venom from the spider caused excruciating pain and tenderness in the area around the bite.

Dr Shankar, a new resident at the hospital, said there were no venomous spiders in the UK where she was from.

“We just don’t see this sort of thing,” she said.

Hospital consultant Dr Peter Worth said children often did not know they had been bitten.

If a child becomes suddenly distressed and restless parents should have them checked out by a doctor, he said.

Dr Worth said there had not been a death from a red-back spider bite since 1956.

The female red-back is easily recognisable by her black body and prominent red stripe on the abdomen. Females are about a centimetre long while the male is smaller.

An 11-year-old Alstonville boy was bitten by a red-back last week and suffered no ill-effects.



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