26 September 2023

Death cap mushrooms a dead end

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Access Canberra has renewed its call for the community to immediately report sightings of mushrooms in public areas, with recent heavy rain expected to lead to further discoveries of death cap mushrooms across the ACT.

The ACT’s Chief Health Officer, Kerryn Coleman said no one should pick or eat any wild mushrooms.

“Anyone who finds a mushroom in a public area is also advised to report it to Access Canberra immediately and to keep children and animals away from it as it is dangerous to even touch the mushroom with bare hands,” Dr Coleman said.

She said death cap mushrooms, which can be lethal when ingested, were known to grow in the ACT.

“They often grow near established oak trees and can be found when there is wet weather,” Dr Coleman said.

She said the deadly mushrooms usually appeared during Autumn but had no specific growing season.

“It can be extremely difficult for even experienced collectors to distinguish death cap mushrooms from an edible mushroom,” she said.

She said cooking death cap mushrooms did not make them safe.

“Symptoms of death cap mushroom poisoning generally occurred within six to 24 hours of ingestion and included stomach pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.”

Dr Coleman said symptoms may subside for one to two days, giving a false impression of recovery, however by that stage the toxin would have already caused serious liver damage and could lead to liver failure and death.

Information and assistance if poisoning is suspected can be obtained by calling the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26.

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