Local mushroom poisonings prompt health warning
SEVERAL residents in northern NSW have reportedly suffered from poisoning after eating wild mushrooms, as recent rains have seen the deadly fungi crop up across the state.
The NSW Poisons Information Centre has released a statement today cautioning people across NSW to avoid eating wild mushrooms, saying the centre has received a significant spike in calls over the past week.
According to NSW Health, there has been one presentation to an Emergency Department on the Mid-North Coast in relation to mushroom poisoning.
In the past week the NSW Poisons Information Centre has also received a total of seven calls from residents on the Mid-North Coast and northern NSW, including 3 from Coffs Harbour.
Across the state there has been eight hospitalisations and 39 ingestion-related calls to the NSW Poisons Information Centre in one week.
Genevieve Adamo, Co-Head of the centre, said five were hospitalised from intentionally eating mushrooms they foraged from fields.
"Recent rains in NSW have brought about excellent growing conditions for wild mushrooms. But it is difficult for most people to recognise edible from poisonous mushrooms,” she said.
"If not properly identified, mushrooms picked in the wild can make you very will and could be lethal, so people should only eat store-bought mushrooms. Cooking or boiling wild mushrooms does not make them safe to eat.”
Ms Adamo said in Australia there are some poisonous wild mushrooms that look similar to edible wild mushrooms found in Asia or Europe.
"There are many mushroom species growing in the wild including the Death Cap mushroom for example, which can cause serious poisoning and potentially fatal organ damage.”
Symptoms of mushroom poisoning include abdominal pains, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, sweating, confusion and hallucinations.
Some varieties can cause kidney and liver damage, and death.
Last year 70 people were hospitalised from mushroom poisoning and there were 218 calls to the Poisons Information Centre about wild mushrooms.
The death cap mushroom, one of the most infamous of poisonous fungi, is potentially fatal and is described as having a 4-16cm cap ranging in colour from pale yellow to green and olive brown, and has white gills.
If you suspect mushroom poisoning, call the centre on 13 11 26.