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

More B.C. food options coming to Northern Health facilities

Northern Health is now part of the provincial Feed BC program

The legacy of the Battle of Britain

Royal Canadian Legion Branch 94 marked Battle of Britain Day with a small service Sept. 15

Quesnel golfers make the cut

The Quesnel Golf Club hosted championships for men and women over the past two weeks

North Cariboo Seniors’ Council gathering housing information through surveys

The housing demand and housing supply surveys are available online until Oct. 5.

Quesnel Culture Days takes “careful” approach

The Quesnel Art Walk kicks off Sept. 26

B.C. reports 91 new cases as officials remain worried over ‘clusters of COVID-19

There have now been a total of 8,395 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began

Canada’s active COVID-19 cases top 10,000 as daily new cases triple over the past month

Dr. Tam repeated her warning to young people, who have made up the majority of recent cases

First 8 months of fatal overdoses in B.C. have now exceeded 2019 death toll

Nine people died every two days in August, BC Coroners Service data shows

Liberal effort to reset policy agenda panned by rivals as too much talk, not action

Trudeau said it’s ‘all too likely’ families won’t be able to gather for Thanksgiving next month

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

‘Show us the money’ for cannabis, local governments tell B.C.

Municipal tax, transit revenues falling as costs rise

‘It’s a boy’: Southern Resident killer whale calf born to J Pod is healthy, researchers say

J35 had previously done a ‘Tour of Grief,’ carrying her dead calf for 17 days

People ‘disgusted’ by COVID-19 election call, B.C. Liberal leader says

Andrew Wilkinson speaks to municipal leaders from Victoria

Most Read