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

Abbotsford bank ATM robbery thwarted by woman standing her ground

Police arrest alleged known robber running down South Fraser wearing balaclava

Teen accused in Abbotsford attack on 85-year-old convicted of firearms offence

Brandon Janveaux found in vehicle in Chilliwack with .22-calibre rifle down his pants

Dad of missing Abbotsford woman charged after allegedly exposing himself in park

Barry Shpeley charged with sexual assault and assault at Hougen Park

Westbound Highway 1 crash slowing traffic in Langley

Vehicle in ditch east of 264 St. has right lane blocked by emergency crews

Not over yet: Mixture of snow, freezing rain on way as winter storm tapers in Lower Mainland

Environment Canada releases weather alert for Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley

Kids across Canada more at risk of hospitalization from flu this season: doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam said influenza B does not usually peak until February or later

Closed mills, housing surge support a positive forecast for lumber industries

B.C. lumber producers have closed mills accounting for 18% of province’s capacity, RBC report says

Good Samaritan pays part of rent for B.C. woman facing eviction in can-collecting dispute

Zora Hlevnjak, 76, supplements her pension by collecting cans and receiving public donations

Should winter tires be mandatory in the Lower Mainland?

ICBC dial-a-claims go up as winter storm takes toll

Canada Post driver in hospital after ice smashes windshield at Massey Tunnel

Incident happened on Richmond side of the Massey Tunnel

Kelowna’s ‘Baby Mary’ finds biological parents after more than 30 years

Geneologist and DNA test helped her connect with her biological parents

Fire truck, police car hit in chain of crashes on Hwy. 99

‘People weren’t paying attention,’ says Surrey assistant fire chief

Kelowna hotel to award couples for baby-making with Nooner deal

The deal includes a free stay every Valentine’s Day for the next 18 years

‘Scariest boat ride of my life’: Passengers trapped by ice on rocky B.C. ferry sailing

The Nimpkish docked in Bella Coola on Jan.12 coated in a thick layer of ice

Most Read