B.C. issues warning over highly poisonous death cap mushrooms
A 'death cap' mushroom is shown in a handout photo. (Vancouver Island Health Authority)
VICTORIA -- The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) has issued an alert for British Columbians to keep an eye out for poisonous death cap mushrooms this fall.
The warning comes as people are planning on spending more time outdoors over the Thanksgiving long weekend, according to the BCCDC. The province says that young children and pets are most at risk of consuming the mushroom.
The death cap mushroom, also known as the Amanita phalloides, is the most poisonous mushroom in the world. It resembles other edible mushrooms such as the paddy straw mushroom found in Asia.
The highly poisonous mushroom has already been seen in many urban areas of B.C., including on Vancouver Island.
Toxins in a death cap mushroom damage the liver and kidney, triggering cramping, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration within six to 12 hours of consumption.
Symptoms may disappear after 24 hours with a grace period of up to 72 hours. Liver and kidney damage symptoms will appear three to six days after eating the poisonous mushroom, says the BCCDC.
In 2016 a three-year-old Vancouver Island boy died after eating the fungus.
Wild mushrooms usually develop during months with more rainfall. With autumn’s cooler, wetter weather settling across B.C., mushrooms of all kinds are emerging in both forests and urban settings.
The BCCDC is asking for the public’s help in locating death cap mushrooms across the province.
If you spot one growing in your community, you can make a report to the province here.
The BCCDC says that calls about the poisonous mushroom remain relatively similar to previous years, though a spike in calls to the BC Drug and Poison Information Centre (DPIC) over death caps was seen in June.