Fly Agaric mushrooms can cause hallucinations and gastrointestinal pain. As of Sept. 30, Poison Control received 201 mushroom poisoning calls, making 2019 one of the most active years in recent history. (Black Press Media file photo)

Mushroom poisoning on the rise, warns BC Centre for Disease Control

Poison Control received 201 calls so far in 2019

The BC Centre for Disease Control warns British Columbians to use extreme caution when foraging or consuming wild mushrooms after a rise in poisoning so far this year.

As of Sept. 30, Poison Control received 201 mushroom poisoning calls, making 2019 one of the most active years in recent history. Comparatively, there were 202 calls in 2018, an increase from the 161 calls in 2017.

According to Raymond Li, a pharmacist with BCCDC, about two thirds of all mushroom related poisoning calls so far this year involved children under the age of five, adding that mushroom hunters, parents and pet owners should be vigilant as they enjoy nature.

READ ALSO: Experts warn against picking Vancouver Island’s magic mushrooms species

Death cap mushrooms, known as the most poisonous mushrooms in the world, have been popping up in parts of the province such as Victoria and South Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley Region. They are most often found in urban areas rather than the natural forest.

While no humans have died from death cap mushrooms in B.C. since 2016, two dogs have died due to poisoning this year.

Death cap mushrooms are native to Europe and are thought to have been introduced to the province on the roots of imported hardwood trees such as the hombeam, a popular variety planted widely in Vancouver during the 1960s and ‘70s.

READ ALSO: ‘Cartoony’ mushrooms popping up across Vancouver Island are poisonous

The fungus can live in the roots of trees for 40 to 50 years before emerging. They are particularly dangerous because of their resemblance to edible varieties of mushrooms, such as puffballs or the Asian Straw.

Symptoms of poisoning include nausea, vomiting, watery diarrhea, low blood pressure, liver failure and kidney failure. The illness can set in eight to 12 hours after ingesting, beginning with vomiting and diarrhea, followed by apparent recovery. Gastrointestinal symptoms recur and damage to the kidney and liver progresses over the next three to six days.

To learn more about death cap mushrooms visit www.bccdc.ca/health-info/prevention-public-health/death-cap-mushrooms.

To see a list of edible and poisonous mushrooms visit www.zoology.ubc.ca/~biodiv/mushroom.

Tips to stay safe while mushroom hunting:

If you’re unsure, do not eat it.

Only pick and eat mushrooms that are well known to be edible and are easy to distinguish from poisonous ones.

If you suspect you’ve consumed a poisonous mushroom, call the Drug and Poison Information Centre 24-hour phone line at 1-800-567-8911 and seek medical attention immediately.

Only hunt for mushrooms in safe terrain and use extreme caution if in remote areas.

Save one of each kind of mushroom so their identities can be confirmed should symptoms develop.



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

QUIZ: How much do you know about British Columbia?

On this B.C. Day long weekend, put your knowledge of our province to the test

Nanaimo-Ladysmith students will be going back to school full time in the fall in ‘learning groups’

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools to submit back-to-school plan to ministry in August

LMS hosts virtual Kids’ Pirate Event in late August

Kids’ Pirate Event will feature five days of online content

Milestone Equipment Contracting on the job of Chemainus Road Corridor Upgrade

Project intricacies will now start to take shape in the weeks ahead

Starvation claims Great Blue Heron in Crofton

No other contributing factors found in death during a necropsy

VIDEO: Otter pups learn to swim at B.C. wildlife rescue facility

Watch Critter Care’s Nathan Wagstaffe help seven young otters go for their first dip

U.S. border communities feel loss of Canadian tourists, shoppers and friends

Restrictions on non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border have been in place since March 2`

Rollout of COVID-19 Alert app faces criticism over accessibility

App requires users to have Apple or Android phones made in the last five years, and a relatively new operating system

Alleged impaired driver sparks small wildfire near Lytton after crash: B.C. RCMP

Good Samaritans prevented the blaze from getting out of control

B.C. First Nation adopts ‘digital twinning’ software to better manage territory

Software allows users to visualize what a mountain might look like if the trees on its slopes were logged

Woman arrested near Nanaimo beach after alleged road rage incidents

37-year-old woman facing charges including assault, assaulting a police officer, impaired driving

All inquiry recommendations implemented after fatal Port Hardy RCMP shooting: Ministry

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. cleared the RCMP officers involved of wrongdoing

Most Read