Some experts have argued that “even though he is guilty of leaving a few holes, it is the victim who supplies the necrotizing bacteria by scratching the site with dirty fingernails.” However, Dunbar’s team took false widows, lace webs (Amaurobius similis) and giant house spiders (Eratigena atrica) to their lab to clean them for bacteria in order to test this hypothesis.
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RNA analysis revealed a variety of microbes on spiders, and “of 22 bacterial species found on false widows, 12 were potentially pathogenic to humans.”
Most of these germs are found “just about anywhere” and do not indicate that we are dealing with “plague-spreading monsters”, but there are still reasons to be careful.
In addition, some of the microbes found on these spiders have shown “worrying grades or resistance to antibiotics”. The good news, however, is that all can be treated with a course of ciprofloxacin, a common antibiotic, but only time will tell if that changes.
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Adam Bankhurst is a news editor for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamBankhurst and on Tic.