14 May 2020
News Category: 

The death cap mushroom, also known as Amanita phalloides, has led to a spike in poison cases around Victoria.

The death cap fungi, commonly found during autumn, often growing under large trees, is difficult to identify obvious to an untrained eye.

Prof George Braitberg, Royal Melbourne Hospital Toxicologist and Emergency medicine specialist says Amanita phalloides is incredibly dangerous and eating this mushroom can lead to severe health outcomes.

“It produces a toxin called amatoxin which is toxic to the liver and the kidneys,” Prof Braitberg said.

The death cap symptoms of poisoning generally appear between eight and 24 hours after ingesting the death cap and can begin with nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.

“It’s a silent killer because often people don’t seek care until they may already have developed issues with their liver or their kidneys. People who die from death cap poisoning, usually develop fatal liver failure,” Prof Braitberg said.

In Australia there is no way to differentiate toxic verses non-toxic mushrooms.

“I would never recommend foraging, particularly in Australia it’s too difficult to differentiate, I would suggest going to the supermarket and leaving any mushrooms you see in any parks or public spaces alone,” Prof Braitberg said.

Death cap poisoning is considered a medical emergency. If you suspect you have eaten some go to hospital immediately. If possible, take a sample of the mushroom with you.

If you need more information or assistance regarding a suspected poisoning call the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26 (24 hours a day, seven days a week).

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