MINNEAPOLIS - Cleveland Indians infielder, Chris Johnson, is back on the team’s active roster after an alleged spider bite during a stay at a Minneapolis hotel benched him for several weeks. However, some health officials are not convinced it was a spider bite that caused his finger to become infected.
According to media reports, Johnson woke up in his Minneapolis hotel on August 15th with something he described as a pimple-looking bite on his left index finger. The bite began to swell and ooze, eventually requiring hospital care and antibiotics.
The veteran major leaguer reported that he could not bend his finger. The Indians medical staff figured it was probably a spider bite.
However, a team spokesman told Fox 9 Tuesday the club never actually determined what caused Johnson’s infection.
Dr. Frank Rhame, an infectious diseases specialist with Allina Health, said he is convinced there is a high probability it was something other than the bite of an arachnid hotel invader.
"Most hand infections are not from spider bites,” Dr. Rhame said. “We really don't have the bad spider, the brown recluse in Minnesota. We do have black widows. But they don't occupy hotel rooms."
Dr. Rhame said serious spider bites in Minnesota are extremely rare. In his decades of infectious disease practice, he said he’s probably only treated five spider bites in Minnesota.
"[Johnson] said it started with a pimple,” Dr. Rhame said. “That's also not terribly suggestive of a spider bite."
Dr. Rhame didn't want to guess what caused Johnson’s infected finger, but he explained the two-week recovery shows just how serious a condition like that can be.