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Canberra
Friday, March 5, 2021
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Death Cap mushroom warning as peak season nears

It’s that time of year again. Canberrans are being warned to stay away from wild mushrooms, as Death Cap mushroom growth starts to increase in the Territory.

All parts of the Death Cap mushrooms are poisonous, whether they have been cooked or not, says ACT Chief Health Officer, Dr Kerryn Coleman.

ACT Chief Health Officer Kerryn Coleman has warned against eating or picking any wild mushrooms, as the growth of the fungus tends to increase as the weather cools down and autumn begins. 

“We had an early growing season this year due to mild summer temperatures, but autumn is usually the peak growing period,” said Dr Coleman.

“All parts of the Death Cap mushroom are poisonous, whether they have been cooked or not.”

Death Cap mushrooms often grow near established oak trees but can also be found where no oak trees are present.

Dr Coleman said they can often be mistaken for edible mushrooms and urged the community to keep children and pets well away from all wild mushrooms.

As well, no wild mushrooms should be touched with bare hands.

“Do not take the risk and don’t eat mushrooms you have found in the wild. All mushrooms should be bought from a reputable supplier,” she said.

“If you think you may have eaten a Death Cap mushroom, seek urgent medical attention at a hospital emergency department even if there are no symptoms. If possible, take any remaining mushrooms to the hospital for identification.

“Symptoms of poisoning generally occur six to 24 hours or more after eating mushrooms, and include pains, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.

“The chances of survival increase when treatment is started early.”

Wild mushrooms in public areas can be reported to Access Canberra on 13 22 81. More information on Death Cap mushrooms can be found on the ACT Health website.

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