Mushroom poisonings on the rise in British Columbia: report

Mushroom poisonings on the rise in British Columbia: report
Paul Kroeger
Mushroom poisonings on the rise in British Columbia

The BC Centre for Disease Control is cautioning British Columbians to be wary of wild mushrooms as poisonings are on the rise in 2019.

According to Poison Control, the organization has received 201 calls regarding mushroom poisoning as of Sept. 30, putting this year on track to be well above the total of 202 total calls they received in 2018.

“Approximately two-thirds of mushroom related poisoning calls in 2019 involved children under the age of five,” said Raymond Li, a pharmacist with Poison Control in a release. “It is important to be aware of dangers from consuming unidentified mushrooms, especially death cap mushrooms. We would like to remind mushroom hunters, parents and pet owners to be vigilant as they enjoy city, parks, forests and even their own backyard.”
The death cap mushroom, the most poisonous in the world and found in urban areas rather than forests, has been increasingly popping up in parts of B.C. including Victoria, South Vancouver Island, and the Gulf Islands.
There have been no reported human deaths from B.C. death cap mushrooms since 2016, however, just recently the death cap mushroom proved fatal for a puppy in the Greater Victoria area.
“With increased appearances of death cap mushrooms across B.C. comes increased risk of exposures,” said Paul Kroeger, co-founder, Vancouver Mycological Society in a statement. “We urge recreational mushroom hunters to use caution and common sense when foraging wild fungi.”
BC Poison Control is advising if you are foraging or consuming wild mushrooms to only pick ones known to be edible and easy to distinguish from the poisonous varieties and that if you are unsure, don’t eat it.
The BC Centre for Disease Control says if you’ve consumed a poisonous mushroom, call the Drug and Poison Information Centre 24-hour phone line at: 1-800-567-8911.

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