ACT Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman is reminding Canberrans not to eat wild mushrooms after several hospital presentations this week.
“ACT health is aware of three people who have presented to ACT emergency departments this week after ingesting wild mushrooms,” Dr Coleman said.
“We cannot confirm at this stage whether these individuals have ingested death cap mushrooms but our public health team is currently investigating these incidents.
“While this is not the normal time of year for death cap mushroom growth in the ACT, which normally peaks around autumn, this is a timely reminder that wild mushrooms can grow anywhere, anytime.”
While ACT Health has not had any recent reports of death cap mushroom sightings in the ACT, we are aware that some have been reported in other parts of our region such as Yass.
As a precautionary measure, inspections are being conducted across the ACT where death cap mushroom have previously been identified.
“Canberrans should be aware that it is never safe to pick and eat wild mushrooms,” Dr Coleman said.
“As the name suggests, death cap mushrooms can be deadly and all parts of the mushroom are poisonous whether they have been cooked or not.
“Eating wild mushrooms is just not worth the risk. Don’t eat mushrooms you have found in the wild, and only purchase mushrooms from a reputable supplier.”
Death cap mushrooms are known to grow in areas across the ACT. While they often grow near established oak trees, they can also be found where no oak trees are evident.
Death caps mushrooms are easily mistaken for edible mushrooms.
People should not touch wild mushrooms with bare hands and should attempt to keep children and animals away from them.
If you think you may have eaten a death cap mushroom, urgently seek medical attention at a hospital emergency department and take any remaining mushroom to the hospital for identification taking precautions to reduce physical contact with the item.
Symptoms of poisoning generally occur 6-24 hours or more after eating mushrooms, and include pains, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.
The chances of survival increase where treatment is started early.
If you think you have seen a death cap mushroom in a public area you can report it to Access Canberra on 13 22 81.
For more information about the death cap mushroom visit: https://health.act.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-03/Death%20Cap%20Mushrooms.pdf