Deadly mushroom warning after Easter rain creates perfect conditions for the poisonous fungi to thrive
- Steer clear of wild mushrooms, Victorians said
- Rain has allowed deadly mushrooms to thrive
Victorians are warned to stay away from wild mushrooms, with Easter showers creating ideal conditions for toxic mold to thrive.
Death’s-head mushrooms are the most dangerous species and are usually found near oak trees in both regional and metropolitan areas.
They have a large yellow-green or olive-brown cap and can cause stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, organ failure and even death within 48 hours.
Yellowish mushrooms are the most common cause of fungal poisoning in Victoria and are very similar to supermarket bought field mushrooms.
They grow in lawns and gardens, and the severity of symptoms once consumed depends on how much of the mushroom is ingested.
Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria researcher Dr Camille Truong shows poisonous Death Cap mushrooms
Poisonous death cap (left) and yellow-colored mushrooms are particularly deadly
Deputy Chief Health Officer Clare Looker is urging Victorians not to pick or eat wild mushrooms this fall.
“It is very difficult to distinguish between poisonous and edible mushrooms, so people are advised to only consume commercially purchased mushrooms,” she said.
She asked anyone suspected of eating a poisonous mushroom to seek help immediately and not wait for symptoms to appear.
Mushroom enthusiasts who fell victim to toxic crops were among 60 people who made mushroom-related calls to the state’s poison information center in April-May last year, resulting in some referrals to the hospital.
In 2020, Victoria had a spate of fatal hood poisonings, with eight people hospitalized at one point. Five ended up in intensive care and one died.
In 2012, two people died after eating the deadly mushrooms at a New Year’s Eve party in Canberra and four others in the ACT were seriously poisoned two years later.
The death cap is commonly found in the Canberra area, as well as around Melbourne, Tasmania and Adelaide.
Wild mushrooms can also be deadly to pets.