Deadly mushrooms enter peak growing period

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ACT chief health officer Dr Kerryn Coleman. Photo: Holly Treadaway.

DEATH cap mushroom growth has increased significantly in Canberra this week, sparking a warning from the ACT chief health officer to not eat or pick any wild mushrooms.

Dr Kerryn Coleman is warning Canberrans to avoid touching any wild mushrooms with their bare hands, keep children and animals away, and if Canberrans see a mushroom that might be a death cap mushroom, report it.

Death cap mushroom

Easily mistaken for edible mushrooms and known to grow in areas across the ACT – mostly near established oak trees but not always – death cap mushrooms pose a danger to the public and are entering their peak growing period with the onset of autumn weather, she says. 

“All parts of the death cap mushroom are poisonous, whether they have been cooked or not,” says Dr Coleman.

“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.”

Dr Coleman says symptoms generally occurring 6-24 hours or more after ingestion, and include pains, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.

Anyone who thinks they have seen a death cap mushroom in a public area can report it to Access Canberra on 13 22 81.

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