'Death cap' mushroom found in Victoria, sends person to hospital
CTV Vancouver Island
Published Monday, October 10, 2016 5:57PM PDT
Last Updated Wednesday, October 12, 2016 2:07PM PDT
Island Health is warning wild mushroom pickers to be extremely cautious after a person was hospitalized a few days ago with near fatal poisoning.
The person was out with family in Victoria on Oct. 3 when he ingested the Amanita phalloides, also known as the 'death cap' mushroom.
The victim ended up in hospital four days later suffering from liver damage.
He was transferred from an intensive care unit in Victoria to a hospital in Alberta for further treatment.
According to the chief medical health officer, poisonous mushrooms can be found anywhere, including urban areas.
“People should be able to spot them, they have a distinctive greenish tinge to the top. If you dig the full mushroom out they have a bulbous bottom,” Dr. Richard Stanwick said.
Island Health won’t disclose where the death cap mushroom was found, but did say about 20 of the mushrooms were collected from that location.
The samples were sent to a lab for testing.
Symptoms experienced after ingesting one include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, low blood pressure, liver failure and kidney failure.
They generally appear between six and 24 hours after consumption.
“This is a very deadly mushroom,” said Stanwick. “The good news is to date we have not seen a death and we’re hoping that stays that way.”
He added that one death cap is enough to kill a person.
The BC Centre for Disease Control says foragers shouldn’t eat anything they’re unsure about, only pick and eat mushrooms that are easily identifiable and only eat small amounts.
According to the BCCDC, death caps are believed to have been introduced to B.C. in the roots of imported hardwood trees planted in the 1960s and 70s.
It says the poisonous fungus lives in the roots of trees for 40 to 50 years before emerging.
If you think you’ve eaten a toxic mushroom, call the DPIC at 1-800-567-8911 or call 911.
With files from The Canadian Press
A 'death cap,' mushroom is shown in a handout photo. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Vancouver Island Health Authority)