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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Child presents to ED after eating death cap mushroom in Canberra

Acting ACT Chief Health Officer Dr Vanessa Johnston is reminding Canberrans not to pick or eat wild mushrooms after a hospital presentation yesterday.

“ACT health is aware of a young child who presented to an ACT emergency department yesterday after ingesting a death cap mushroom,” Dr Johnston said.

“This is an unfortunate reminder that wild mushrooms can grow anywhere in our region, at anytime, including at private residences. High rainfall and warm temperatures in recent weeks are ideal conditions for the growth of these mushrooms.

“Canberrans should remember that it is never safe to pick and eat wild mushrooms.

“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.”

The ACT Government undertakes routine site inspections at known, high yielding sites only, on a weekly basis from February to June. Death cap mushrooms were detected and removed yesterday from around Canberra.

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 find any mushrooms in your yard, you should remove wear disposable gloves to remove them from the ground and dispose of them straight into your kerbside wheelie bin.

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

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