BY assistant Prof Bruce Baer Arnold
FOLLOWING sightings of death cap mushrooms in Canberra, ACT chief health officer Dr Paul Kelly is warning locals not to eat or pick any wild mushrooms.
Mr Kelly says it’s crucial for people to understand that all parts of the mushroom are poisonous and cooking them does not make them safe to eat.
“Death cap mushrooms can be lethal if ingested,” he says.
He is also warning the community not to touch the mushrooms with bare hands and to keep children and animals away from them.
Death cap mushrooms, which are known to grow in the ACT, often grow near established oak trees and can be found when there is wet weather.
“If you think you have eaten a death cap mushroom, seek urgent medical attention at a hospital emergency department and take any remaining mushroom to the hospital for identification,” he says.
“Symptoms of poisoning generally occur 6-24 hours or more after eating mushrooms, and include pains, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.
“The sooner treatment begins, the better the patient’s chances of survival.”
There have been four fatalities and a number of poisonings associated with Death Cap mushrooms in the ACT since 2002.
Anyone who finds a mushroom in a public area, can contact Access Canberra on 13 22 81.
More information via health.act.gov.au/