Minerva: February 2000
Early one November morning in southeast Queensland, a father found his baby son motionless and covered in vomit. He had puncture marks on the back of his right hand and a large black funnel web spider in his bed clothes (Medical Journal of Australia 1999;171:651-3). Four other people in the area have been poisoned by funnel web spiders since 1992. All recovered, but experts warn local hospitals to be ready for an increased incidence of bites as urban centres grow into the spiders' natural territory. The message is to keep antivenom in stock or know where to find it fast.
The National Lottery recently awarded £166 000 to Bag Books, creators of multisensory story kits for children with severe learning difficulties. The “books,” which are three dimensional, incorporate sound, smell, and texture as well as visual stimuli. The lottery money guarantees production for another three years. For more information, or