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

VIU students pitch planning projects to Cumberland

Students looked at topics such as historical values and parking issues

Comox Valley ends tough VIJHL season with a win

Glacier Kings more than double last year’s win total but miss post-season

Comox Valley school district drama students present Xanadu

Venice Beach, California, 1980. An aspiring young artist paints a mural, and… Continue reading

Heart attacks strike husband, wife just over one year apart

Courtenay couple share personal stories to bring awareness to heart month

Kingfisher spa now open following early January fire

Owner Bill Brandes offered personal funds to minimize the impact of the situation on his employees.

VIDEO: 2020 BC Winter Games wrap up in Fort St. John as torch passes to Maple Ridge

More than 1,000 athletes competed in the 2020 BC Winter Games

Harvey Weinstein found guilty of sex crimes in landmark #MeToo trial

The cases against the Hollywood mogul started the #MeToo movement

CRA puts focus on paper returns as tax-filing season opens

The federal tax collector expects to handle about two million paper returns this calendar year out of roughly 26 million filings

StatCan says 3.2 million living in poverty, including 566,000 children

The child poverty rate of 8.2 per cent however is little changed from 2017

Teck withdraws application for Frontier mine, citing discourse over climate change

The Vancouver-based company said it will take a $1.13-billion writedown on the Frontier project in Alberta

B.C. VIEWS: Pipeline dispute highlights need for clarity

As the B.C. treaty process grinds on, uncertainty remains

Massive early-morning blaze destroys Vancouver Island home

Firefighters from three departments called in to battle fire at unoccupied residence

First win, fifth win highlight BC Senior Curling finals

Donna Mychaluk wins first title after finishing second five times; Wes Craig takes fifth crown

Still six cases of COVID-19 in B.C. despite reports of Air Canada passenger: ministry

Health ministry wouldn’t comment on specific flight routes

Most Read