by Chris Haire
Put this in the what-ya-know file, but two media types in the UGA College of Agricultural and Enviromental Sciences note in a column in the Early County News (Blakely, Ga.) that brown recluse spiders are far more uncommon in S.C. than you think:
Brown recluse spider bites are very rare in Georgia. Hinkle said there is only one confirmed account of anyone being bitten by one in Georgia. However, 963 reports of bites in 103 counties have been filed at Georgia poison centers in the last five years.
Over-diagnosis is a problem nationwide. From page 12 Hinkle said South Carolina physicians diagnosed 738 bites in 2004, but only 44 brown recluse spiders have been found in the state's recorded history. Similarly, Floridians claimed 95 brown recluse bites in 2000, but Florida has recorded brown recluse spiders at only 11 places in more than 100 years.
The study was prompted by Hinkle's arrival from California. "When I first came to Georgia, I heard several people say they knew someone who'd seen or been seriously wounded by a recluse," she said. "I found that odd since the recluse is a Midwesterner, not a Southerner."