Obscure Box

Thoughts from inside the obscure box

April 23, 2008

I bet this story has legs

Posted by : Michael Lund
Filed under : Media, Online, Radio

For those who complain that Australian news never seems to make it overseas, then this story is for you.

A Central Queensland hospital is to close for a day so authorities can tackle an invasion of potentially deadly redback spiders.

Queensland Health's Rural Director of Nursing, Ellen Palmer, told the ABC: "We have upped our ... we've had a little problem out there for quite some time now, and we increased our fumigating, but the eggs are just so many of them that we're not getting on top of it."

The report "Spiders invade Queensland hospital" (Wednesday 23 April 2008) says no one has been bitten yet, but the hospital at Baralaba, about 200km inland from Gladstone, isn't taking any chances.

This is just the sort of story the Sydney/Melbourne editors love. Anything quirky from Queensland and it gets a run.

The Sydney Morning Herald is already on to it in "Redbacks close bush hospital" (Wednesday 23 April 2008).

How soon before the story heads overseas to further reinforce the false-image of Australia as a dangerous land teaming with the world's deadliest creatures?

Just for the record, various authoritative websites report anything from 200 to 2000 redback spider bites each year but the Queensland Museum says only one person has died from a redback bite since an anti-venom was developed in 1956. Prior to that 13 people died from redback bites.

Known enemies of the redback include the delicate daddy long legs, so if you've got those in your house then leave them alone.

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All thoughts and comments here are the honestly held personal opinion of Michael Lund and are based on the information available at the time of publication.