The Black house spider, the most common spider in India, is likely to hit the country, with police warning that the bite could lead to paralysis.
“The spider is likely coming here, it is likely that it will be killed and its bite will go to the brain,” Chief Minister Raghuram Rajan said.
The spider has been known to attack and eat people in remote parts of the country for years, but this is the first time it has been reported to have attacked and killed people in the state of Kerala.
The state’s chief health officer, Anil Sharma, said that the spider could cause paralysis if it bites people.
“We are in constant touch with the authorities and we will ensure that the situation is checked,” he said.
“It is not only the state that is facing the problem of spiders but also neighbouring states such as Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh,” he added.
State-run TV channel NTV reported that the death toll had risen to nine, with five people injured.
State authorities said the spiders could cause severe paralysis in humans and animals.
The chief minister had earlier warned that it was possible that the spiders had escaped and had landed in other parts of Kerala, including Kerala’s capital, Kannur.
“The spider can easily get out of the house, can be found anywhere in Kerala,” Rajan had said.
“There is a possibility that they have come from the neighbouring states.”
He said the situation was under control and the state would soon start testing the bite for rabies.