CDPH Warns Consumers to Avoid Wild Mushrooms

(KTSF by Jessie Liang)

With seasonal rains promoting the growth of wild mushrooms, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) today reminds consumers that collecting and eating wild mushrooms can cause serious illness and even death. State Public Health Officer recommends that wild mushrooms not be eaten unless they have been carefully examined and determined to be edible by a mushroom expert.

According to the California Poison Control System (CPCS), 1,748 cases of mushroom ingestion were reported statewide in 2009-2010.

Among those cases:

  • Two individuals died.
  • Ten individuals suffered a major health outcome, such as liver failure leading to coma and/or a liver transplant, or kidney failure requiring dialysis.
  • 964 were children under six years of age. These incidents usually involved the child eating a small amount of a mushroom growing in yards or neighborhood parks.
  • 948 individuals were treated at a health care facility.
  • 19 were admitted to an intensive care unit.

The most serious illnesses and deaths have been linked primarily to mushrooms known to cause liver damage, including Amanita ocreata, or “destroying angel,” and Amanita phalloides, also known as the “death cap.” These and other poisonous mushrooms grow in some parts of California year-round, but are most commonly found during fall, late winter or spring.

Eating poisonous mushrooms can cause abdominal pain, cramping, vomiting, diarrhea, liver damage and death.

(Copyright 2011 KTSF. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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