A 10-year-old boy from Montana died after being bitten by a deadly spider.
Health officials say Keith Pierce died from an infection that was caused by a spider bite, NBC Montana reported. The boy died after surgery at a Billings hospital.
Keith had a dark, round mark on his leg after a week of complaining of swelling and pain.
“I saw what appeared to be a set of fang marks,” Keith’s mother, Mandy, told Little Things. “I tried to tell them that it was a spider bite.”
But doctors were concerned that the marking on Keith’s leg was cancer. Two days later, sepsis set in, and doctors had to perform emergency surgery on Keith.
“Keith passed away less than 24 hours later -- one month and four days after his 10th birthday,” Mandy says.
A forensic examination confirmed that Keith died from severe sepsis caused by complications of a spider bite. Sepsis occurs when the blood becomes poisoned.
The Yellowstone County Coroner’s Office could not confirm what kind of spider bit Keith. Scientists said the black widow spider is native to Montana.
Insect diagnostician Laurie Kerzicnik told the news station that brown recluse spiders are also harmful, but are considered rare in Montana. Kerzicnik said venom isn’t even the most damaging aspect of a spider bite.
"The venom itself stays very localized to where the bite happened, and it's actually having some piercing like that, that opens up the area for more wounds," Kerzicnik told NBC Montana.
According to health officials, some symptoms to look out for include sharp pain, reddish-purple areas of swelling and irritation near the bite area.
"There's a lot of things out there that bite, and there's a lot of ways to get sick with fever or with vomiting and those sorts of things," Gallatin County Health Department Director Matt Kelley explained. "So you really have to pay attention to -- if you get bit, does it seem to be leading to these symptoms?"
Kelley added that treatments can vary from person to person. He suggested washing the bite area with hot, soapy water and then placing a cold, damp compress on it. If the bite area becomes painful, or if you become sick, Kelly said you should contact your healthcare provider.
Keith’s family created a GoFundMe page and a Facebook memorial page. The GoFundMe account raised more than $10,000.
Pastor Charles Christensen said the family is grateful for all the love and support they’ve received from people all over the globe.
"Their grateful heart, their thankfulness to the community as far away as Alaska, Great Falls, Livingston, the outpour has been coming in and they're just flat overwhelmed and they're grateful for the love and the compassion that's come out through the members of the community and extended family members," Christensen said.