While California welcomes any rains in the state after the recent record drought, seasonal rains have promoted the growth of wild mushrooms, that according to the California Department of Public Health, can be deadly if consumed by the public.
State health officials are reminding people that eating wild mushrooms can cause serious illness and even death.
“Telling the difference between wild mushrooms that are safe and those that are poisonous can be difficult for many people,” said Dr. Karen Smith, CDPH director and state public health officer. “Wild mushrooms should not be eaten unless they have been examined by a mushroom expert and determined to be edible.”
According to the department, the most serious illnesses and deaths have been linked primarily to wild mushrooms known to cause liver damage, including Amanita phalloides, also known as the “death cap” and Amanita ocreata, or “destroying angel.”
Officials said that a bloom of Amanita phalloides last winter resulted in 14 mushroom poisonings in the state that required hospitalization and three of those cases required a liver transplant.
The California Poison Control System said 1,038 cases of poisonous mushroom ingestion were reported throughout the state from November 2016 to Jan. 15, 2018.
Among those cases, 16 people suffered a major health outcome, such as liver failure leading to coma and/or a liver transplant, or kidney failure requiring dialysis.
Another 51 people suffered a moderate health outcome, such as dehydration due to vomiting and diarrhea, or injury to the liver or kidney while 433 people were children younger than six years of age, who usually ate a small amount of a mushroom growing in yards or neighborhood parks.
Some 522 people were treated at a health care facility while 16 were admitted to an intensive care unit.
CDPH said eating poisonous mushrooms can lead to abdominal pain, cramping, vomiting, diarrhea, liver damage or death. Adding that if people develops symptoms after eating wild mushrooms, they should seek immediate medical attention.
People who develop these symptoms, or their treating health care providers, should immediately contact CPCS at (800) 222-1222.