2 May 2018

Warning issued as Death Cap mushrooms spotted in Canberra

| Ian Bushnell
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Death Cap mushroom. Photo: Supplied by The Food Safety Information Council.

The sighting of the deadly Death Cap mushroom in the ACT has prompted a warning from health authorities not to pick or eat wild mushrooms.

ACT Chief Health Officer Dr Paul Kelly said Death Cap mushrooms could be lethal if ingested.

“It is crucial for people to understand that all parts of the mushroom are poisonous and cooking them does not make them safe to eat,” he said.

Death cap mushrooms often grow near established oak trees and can be found when there is wet weather.

Dr Kelly warned the community not to touch the mushroom with bare hands and to keep children and animals away from it.

“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 said.

“Symptoms of poisoning generally occur six to 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 deaths 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.

Dr Kelly urged Canberrans and anyone visiting Canberra not to pick or eat any wild mushrooms, and to purchase all mushrooms from a reputable supplier.

For more information about the Death Cap mushroom visit: http://www.health.act.gov.au/datapublications/fact-sheets/environmental-health

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