26 September 2023

Deadly mushrooms prompt health warning again

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Canberrans are being warned yet again not to pick or eat wild mushrooms following a hospital presentation last week.

Issuing the warning, Chief Health Officer Kerryn Coleman said a young child was admitted to an ACT hospital last Wednesday (27 April) after consuming a Death Cap mushroom.

“This is an unfortunate reminder that wild mushrooms can grow anywhere in our region at any time,” Dr Coleman said.

“Canberrans should remember that it is never safe to pick and eat wild mushrooms,” she said.

“As the name suggests, Death Cap mushrooms can be deadly, and all parts of the mushroom are poisonous whether they have been cooked or not.”

Dr Coleman said Death Caps were easily mistaken for edible mushrooms, “even a small amount can be lethal.”

The Chief Health Officer warned the community not to touch wild mushrooms with bare hands and to keep children and animals away from them.

“If you think you may have eaten a Death Cap mushroom, seek urgent medical attention at a hospital emergency department even if there are no symptoms,” she said.

“The chances of survival increase when treatment is started early.

“Take any remaining mushroom to the hospital for identification taking precautions to reduce physical contact with the item, if possible.”

Dr Coleman said some of the main symptoms of Death Cap mushroom poisoning included pains, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea, which generally occurred after 6-24 hours or more.

“Do not take the risk and don’t eat mushrooms you have found in the wild,” she said.

Further information on Death Cap mushrooms can be accessed at this one-page statement PS News link.

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