The death cap mushroom has been found on a boulevard in Greater Victoria. (Contributed by Adolf and Oluna Ceska)

Disease control warns mushroom pickers against death cap

Pickers should be on look out and report the extremely poisonous mushroom

As the weather begins to cool and the rain falls more frequently, mushrooms pickers throughout the province have begun foraging and the B.C. Centre for Disease Control calls for caution.

The death cap mushroom is not native to B.C. but can be found in urban environments including Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island. In 2016 a toddler died after eating death caps on the Island.

RELATED: Victoria boy dies after ingesting poisonous mushroom

“We’ve had 30 calls between June and August about mushroom exposures and 16 in September alone,” said Raymond Li, pharmacist with the B.C. Drug and Poison Control Centre.

“Now that the rains are here, people are seeing mushrooms all over the place. The volume of calls we get about mushrooms is really dependent on the weather.”

Most of the calls poison control come from people who are worried about children or pets who may have taken a bite out of a mushroom they found, according to Li. He suggests taking the whole mushroom or careful pictures, in order for it to be properly identified.

The organization also gets calls from people who go out foraging for mushrooms and either have second thoughts after eating wild mushrooms or begin to feel unwell.

RELATED: Deadly mushrooms found in Greater Victoria

“I generally caution against foraging in urban environments because of the added risk,” said Paul Kroeger, pas president of the Vancouver Mycological Society.

“If you’re foraging, go to a natural forest and go with an expert; there are lots of mushroom clubs, events, and festivals.”

The death cap mushroom contains toxins that damage the liver and kidney, and people can experience the following symptoms within six to 12 hours:

  • Cramping
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Watery diarrhea
  • Dehydration

After 24 hours, people may feel better but the toxins may continue to damage vital organs. A second wave of nausea will occur within 72 hours after eating the mushroom, resulting in organ failure.

What to do if you find death cap mushrooms growing:

  • Note the location, take careful photographs, and make a report
  • Remove the mushrooms and dispose of them
  • Touching death caps is not a risk but gloves are recommended
  • Do not dispose of death cap mushrooms in your home compost
  • Dispose of them in the municipal compost (green bins) or bag them and put them in the garbage
  • Wash your hands after removing the mushrooms

If you suspect mushroom poisoning, call poison control immediately at 1-800-567-8911.



ragnar.haagen@bpdigital.ca

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

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

COVID-19: Interior Health orders closure of all fitness centres until May 30

The order is subject to revision, cancellation, or extension

FortisBC pausing power disconnections and late-fees amid COVID-19 crisis

Company says they plan to work with customers affected by COVID-19 on a “one on one” basis

MP Morrison ‘disappointed’ in six-week delay for wage subsidy support

Kootenay-Columbia MP says small businesses and employees need financial help now

‘Better days will return’: Queen Elizabeth delivers message amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Queen said crisis reminds her of her first address during World War II in 1940

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

COVID-19: Hospitals remain safe for childbirth, say Vancouver Island care providers

North Island Hospital has been asked to share its perinatal COVID-19 response plan

Canadian cadets to mark 103rd anniversary of Vimy Ridge April 9 virtually

Idea of Captain Billie Sheridan in Williams Lake, B.C. who wondered what to do in times of COVID-19

B.C. VIEWS: Pandemic shows need for adequate care home staffing

Seniors in B.C. care homes face challenging times

QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Take this test and find out how well you know Canada’s most popular winter sport

Most Read