Dubai: Dubai authorities have warned residents not to panic if they spot a redback spider and not to leave their wounds untreated if bitten.
“There is no need [for residents] to panic. We had received cases before and we were, and continue to be, prepared to deal with any cases of spider bites. Redbacks are dangerous if the bite is left untreated, so timely and proper treatment is needed when such incidents happen,” said A.K.M. Motahar Hussain, pest management specialist at the Public Health Services Department, Dubai Municipality.
Hussain confirmed that although they did not receive any recent complaints from residents recently, redback spiders have been spotted across the emirate since 1990, with the most recent complaint having been about seven years ago.
“In the event of a bite, you have to make sure that the victim is hospitalised soon, and all our government hospitals are equipped with medicines and treatment for that.”
Although there is no detailed explanation as to how the spiders arrived in the UAE, as they are not indigenous, municipality officials presume that they were imported through foreign plants.
At the time when the spiders were first reported, Dubai Municipality launched a thorough investigation and discovered its nests, which was identified by experts from the Natural History Museum in London.
After confirming the presence of the redback spiders, the Pest Control Section designed special leaflets for public awareness with detailed information about the spider, which continues to be distributed.
“They are not aggressive by habit and bite in defence only when disturbed,” said Hussain.
He further pointed out that if a person is bitten, the victim should firstly try to stay calm and apply an ice bag on the bite, before visiting the nearest hospital.
“You should not make tight bandages on or about the wound and it is also important if you can show the spider to the doctor, in order to receive better and a more accurate form of treatment,” he added.