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'Spider death' email a web of lies


April 25, 2002

An email in circulation saying that nine women in Pretoria and Johannesburg died after being bitten by a spider is a hoax.

The email claimed a report by a Dr Beverly Clark, in the Journal of the Medical Association (JMA), said the victims had died after being bitten by a "dangerous South American Blush Spider".

It said the women's "symptoms" were fever, chills and vomiting, then muscular collapse, paralysis and death. Apparently a toxicologist discovered the women were bitten when they went to the toilets at restaurants in Johannesburg and Pretoria.

Research on the Internet has shown that the incident was first fabricated in the United States in 1999.

JMA managing editor Fred Saunders said on Wednesday he knew nothing about the report or the writer.

Copyright © 2002 IOL


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