Experts dispel spider bite's connection to mental illness - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Experts dispel spider bite's connection to mental illness

(Source: Delta State University) (Source: Delta State University)
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) -

Following a shooting at Delta State University, investigators are now checking claims that a spider bite caused the suspected shooter to have mental health problems.

Professor Shannon Lamb reportedly shot and killed Amy Prentiss and Dr. Ethan Schmidt before killing himself.

Experts at the Memphis Zoo stated they have never heard of a spider bite causing a mental reaction.

"In my experience, you would not have a severe mental reaction to a spider bite," Memphis Zoo Assistant Curator Chris Baker said. "They're physical reactions easily treated by medical doctors."

Baker has studied spiders for 17 years. He explained that spider bites, even from the most venomous animals, typically only cause a physical reaction to skin, nerves and muscles.

Local psychiatrists agree with Baker. They said they had never heard of a spider bite causing mental illness.

"There are only two medically significant spiders in the Mid-South and those have very distinctive effects," Baker added. "The black widow spider is one that causes cramping and extreme pain. It's a neurotoxin. It goes at your nervous system. It causes tingling and pain. The brown recluse, on the other hand, is a localized tissue destruction venom."

investigators have not confirmed whether or not the claim is true. They said there are no new updates to the case.

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