West Michigan man bitten by rare brown recluse spider
BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Dan Riippa doesn’t seem too flustered when he shares what he discovered while playing a game of golf with his church pastor on June 23.
"I was getting ready to tee off, and he looked down and said did someone bite you and that is when I first realized there was a black mark on my calf," said Riippa.
The sales engineer says he didn’t remember being bit, and he never imagined the bite was from a rare venomous brown recluse spider.
“I started feeling flu like symptoms I had a fever, I had some body aches and just felt miserable,” said Riippa.
First the Battle Creek father visited his primary care doctor who thought the bite was caused by a tick but after the flesh-eating venom spread he started feeling a sharp pain.
He and his wife rushed to the hospital and that is when a doctor confirmed their speculation and admitted him to the hospital where he stayed for five days.
“As we got into the ER Saturday morning the ER doctor said I believe that is brown recluse because I have already seen two others this month from the Battle Creek area," said Riippa.
Within hours the spot grew to the size of a fist and he says the redness and swelling around it radiated pain up and down his leg, and in that moment he says it all came back to him.
“I had been out trimming bushes the day before I had hauled some brush out to the road that Thursday.
I’ve always worn tall muck boots and jeans and thought I was well protected. But looking back, I think it occurred when I put the tall muck boots back on, because I felt a little scratch but didn't think much of it."
Three weeks later, Riippa's wound is healing but he is still taking antibiotics. He credits physicians and his unwavering faith for his recovery.