‘Deadly’ mushrooms on the rise, warns health chief

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Death cap mushrooms.

THE growth of poisonous death cap mushrooms is expected to increase heading into autumn, sparking a warning from Canberra’s health chief. 

Death cap mushrooms are known to grow near established oak trees, but Dr Kerryn Coleman is warning Canberrans not to eat or pick any wild mushrooms, as death cap mushrooms are easily mistaken for edible mushrooms

They can also be found where no oak trees are evident, Dr Coleman says, warning that all parts of the death cap mushroom are poisonous – “whether they have been cooked or not.”

“We had an early growing season this year due to mild summer temperatures, but autumn is usually the peak growing period,” she says. 

She urges 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. If possible, take any remaining mushrooms to the hospital for identification,” she says. 

“Symptoms of poisoning generally occur six to 24 hours or more after eating mushrooms, and include pains, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.

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

“Do not take the risk and don’t eat mushrooms you have found in the wild. All mushrooms should be bought from a reputable supplier.”

Anyone who sees a wild mushroom in a public area can report it to Access Canberra on 13 22 81.

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