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Friday, May 7, 2021
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Public health alert: Death Cap mushrooms increasing markedly in Canberra

The growth of Death Cap mushrooms in the ACT has increased significantly this week with the onset of autumn, prompting ACT Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman today to again warn Canberrans not to eat or pick any wild mushrooms.

“Death Cap mushroom growth has increased markedly this week, which is somewhat expected with autumn being the peak growing period,” Dr Coleman said.

“This poses a significant danger to the public.

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

Death Cap mushrooms are known to grow in areas across the ACT. While they often grow near established oak trees, they can also be found where no oak trees are evident.

Death Caps are easily mistaken for edible mushrooms.

Dr Coleman warned the community not to touch wild mushrooms with bare hands and to keep children and animals away from them.

“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,” Dr Coleman said.

“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.

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

Anyone who thinks they have seen a Death Cap mushroom in a public area can report it to Access Canberra on 13 22 81.

For more information about the Death Cap mushroom visit: health.act.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-03/Death%20Cap%20Mushrooms.pdf

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