gripped by fear of spider
A spider with a painful but not
life-threatening bite has spread alarm through
Austria in the past two weeks.
Bites from the yellow sack spider,
which is up to 1.6cm (0.6in) long, were reported
in several parts of Austria. The reports prompted
190 people to visit the main hospital in Linz
- but only eight had possible symptoms.
A doctor at Vienna’s main hospital,
Dieter Gruber, told the BBC it was a “wave of
hysteria”, saying hundreds of callers had asked
about the spider. In an effort to ease public
anxiety, Health Minister Maria Rauch- Kallat
said “the bites of a yellow sack spider are
indeed painful but not deadly”.
Austrian media have devoted much
coverage to the spider - the Dornfingerspinne
in German - with experts giving details about
its behavior and habitat. They say Europe has
more venomous spiders to worry about, such as
the Black Widow.