Alarm over venomous spiders in Rome

Outbreak of spider bites causes concern in south Rome districts.

Residents of southern Rome areas are reporting increasing cases of being bitten by a species of venomous spider known as the brown recluse spider, or violin spider, whose venom can lead to hospitalisation.
The spiders, known in Italian as the “ragno violino” (Loxosceles rufescens), can be brown or yellow and they vary in size from seven to 10 millimetres.
The species lives in both rural and urban environments, and in Rome can be found in areas around Via Ardeatina and Via Laurentina where there are numerous green spaces.
As their name suggests the spiders are characteristically reclusive however they react when their space is threatened, with the victim often only experiencing pain or discomfort two days after being bitten. Symptoms include itching and swelling but can result in mild to severe skin lesions, two days later, at which point urgent hospital treatment is required.
The spiders are distributed in warmer climates around the world and generally stay in secluded areas, such as under rocks, however when they go indoors they are known to retreat into shoes and under bed covers.