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)

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

The intersection at Moilliet Street and Despard Avenue where a 12-year-old boy was struck by an oncoming vehicle early November while crossing at a marked crosswalk. (Mandy Moraes photo)
City staff members, school district officials to discuss high-traffic Parksville intersection

Young boy suffered broken leg after being hit in Despard/Moilliet crossing

An acre of the former ‘Bus Garage’ property has been sold to Naked Naturals Whole Foods Ltd. (Town of Qualicum Beach photo)
Qualicum Beach sells prime downtown property to Naked Naturals for $2.75M

Town to retain more than an acre of land for development of public amenities

Environment Canada is forecasting snow for the east Vancouver Island region the weekend of Jan. 23. (Black Press file)
Up to 15 cm of snow forecast for Parksville area this weekend

Snow to begin Saturday night, according to Environment Canada

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

Police are searching for an alleged sex offender, Nicole Edwards, who they say has not returned to her Vancouver halfway house. (Police handout)
Police hunt for woman charged in ‘horrific’ assault who failed to return to Surrey halfway house

Call 911 immediately if you see alleged sex offender Nicole Edwards, police say

A screenshot from a local Instagram account video. The account appeared to be frequented by Mission students, and showed violent videos of students assaulting and bullying other students.
Parents, former students describe ‘culture of bullying’ in Mission school district

Nearly two dozen voices come forward speaking of abuse haunting the hallways in Mission, B.C.

Joe Biden, then the U.S. vice-president, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau take their seats at the start of the First Ministers and National Indigenous Leaders meeting in Ottawa, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau, Biden to talk today as death of Keystone XL reverberates in Canada

President Joe Biden opposed the Keystone XL expansion as vice-president under Barack Obama

Prince Edward Island’s provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, Friday July 3, 2020. A lozenge plant in Prince Edward Island has laid off 30 workers, citing an “almost non-existent” cold and cough season amid COVID-19 restrictions. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
‘Almost non-existent’ cold and cough season: P.E.I. lozenge plant lays off 30 workers

The apparent drop in winter colds across the country seems to have weakened demand for medicine and natural remedies

Robert Riley Saunders. (File)
Disgraced Kelowna social worker faces another class-action lawsuit

Zackary Alphonse claims he was not informed of resources available to him upon leaving government care

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
Police probe U-Haul trailer linked to illicit drugs left outside Cache Creek motel

Hazardous materials found inside believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

SD62 bus driver Kerry Zado said it’s common to see drivers lose their patience and pass by his bus while he’s picking up students during the morning commute. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Concerned Island school bus driver says people still pass while red lights flashing

All buses in Sooke School District outfitted with stop sign cameras

Most Read