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Seven Amador County residents were hospitalized the last week of December after eating wild mushrooms. All seven have since been released from the hospital and all are expected to make full recoveries. According to county health officials, the wild mushrooms were picked locally and were ingested after cooking and all seven people experienced gastric symptoms within 12 hours of ingestion.
California Poison Control was contacted and worked closely with staff from Sutter Amador Hospital in Jackson and Amador County Public Health to coordinate treatment. The type of mushroom involved has yet to be identified.
The onset of the rainy season has created an environment that encourages mushroom growth in the county and many local citizens take their chances by picking wild mushrooms. Health officials say picking wild mushrooms can be dangerous because there are no clearly identifiable characteristics of poisonous mushrooms. According to the FDA?s Natural Toxins Handbook, poisonous mushrooms cannot be made safe by cooking, canning, freezing or any other means of processing.
?Because some poisonous mushrooms can look similar to non-poisonous mushrooms, wild mushrooms should not be eaten,? said Amador County health officer Bob Hartman. ?Ideally, the best way to prevent mushroom poisoning is to avoid all mushrooms not purchased at a store. Mushroom collectors sometimes overestimate their ability to differentiate toxic mushrooms from edible mushrooms, as this recent incident illustrates.?
According to the California Poison Control System, 933 cases of apparent mushroom poisoning had been reported in the state in 2004 as of Nov. 22. At least 14 of the individuals were hospitalized and one nearly died.
In the United States, about 100 of the 5,000 varieties of mushrooms are considered to be poisonous; among these are Amanita phalloides - known as the ?death cap? - which is responsible for 90 percent of all fatal cases of mushroom poisonings. Toxic mushrooms are not unique in appearance and do not have distinct tastes or smells and even touching the mushrooms can sometimes be toxic.
There are three defined stages of mushroom poisoning symptoms. In the first 24 hours after ingestion, symptoms may include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and severe diarrhea. During the second stage, three to five days after ingestion, liver and renal failure may occur. In four to nine days, the third stage, death may occur.
?Because the onset of abdominal symptoms can be delayed, some victims may not associate their symptoms with having eaten wild mushrooms and instead self-diagnose these symptoms as the stomach flu,? Harman said. ?Other serious symptoms may not even appear until several days later, which is why it is very important to seek medical attention immediately if you have eaten wild mushrooms.?
Individuals who have eaten wild mushrooms and develop any of the associated symptoms should immediately contact the California Poison Control System at 1-800-8-POISON or 1-800-222-1222 and seek medical attention.
The wild mushrooms ingested by seven Amador County residents have been positively identified as Amanita phalloides, also known as the Death Cap mushroom.
The seven were hospitalized the last week of December - five at Sutter Amador Hospital and two in San Francisco - after eating the wild mushrooms. All seven have since been released from the hospital and all are expected to make full recoveries. According to county health officials, the wild mushrooms were picked locally and were ingested after cooking and all seven people experienced gastric symptoms within 12 hours of ingestion.
The symptoms involved included nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The hospitalizations lasted from two to three days. California Poison Control was contacted and worked closely with staff from Sutter Amador Hospital in Jackson and Amador County Public Health to coordinate treatment.
Dr. Michael Davis, a professor in the Department of Plant Pathology at the University of California, Davis, performed DNA analysis of fragments of the mushrooms. ?These were definitely the Death Cap mushrooms,? he said. ?The patients were lucky.?
-------------------- All mushrooms are edible.....once.