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

West Kelowna Warriors edge Vernon Vipers 6-4

The teams meet again on Saturday, Feb. 22 at 6 p.m. for the final game of regular season

Prolific offenders from Alberta lead RCMP on chase from Kelowna to Abbotsford

Men first reported in Chilliwack ending with allegedly stolen vehicle in an Abbotsford pond

Fiery collision involving truck closes Highway 1 at Three Valley Gap

Drivers should expect major delays and congestion; estimated time of re-opening is 2 p.m.

Central Okanagan school superintendent addresses technology’s impact on students

Physical and mental well being for students key themes during Kevin Kaardal’s presentation

Westbank First Nation Grand Chief Noll Derriksan passes away

Derriksan was 79 at the time of his passing

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

Tyler Toffoli scores twice, Canucks crush Bruins 9-3

Stecher, Miller each add three points for Vancouver

Zamboni driver, 42, earns NHL win over Maple Leafs

Emergency goalie called into action for Carolina Hurricanes

Governor general says multiple solutions needed for ‘complicated’ overdose issue

Julie Payette met at a fire hall with firefighters and police officers as well as politicians and health experts

Landlord ordered to pay $11K after harassing B.C. mom to move days after giving birth

Germaine Valdez was pressured to move just a few days after giving birth by C-section to her child

Heart attacks strike B.C. husband and wife just over one year apart

Courtenay couple share personal stories to bring awareness to heart month

‘Nothing surprises us anymore:’ U.S. border officials find brain in package

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents found the brain packed in a glass mason jar in a Canada Post shipment

Adapting to love along the Columbia River

One man starts a GoFundme to help his partner with health costs caused on the trip where they met

B.C., Ottawa sign sweeping 30-year deal for northern caribou habitat

West Moberly, Saulteau co-manage new protection on two million acres

Most Read