Public health alert: Death Cap mushrooms increasing in Canberra

ACT Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman has warned Canberrans not to eat or pick any wild mushrooms.

Dr Coleman said that Death Cap mushrooms were growing in the ACT and growth was expected to increase as we progress into autumn.

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

“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 6-24 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 bought from a reputable supplier.”

Anyone who sees a wild mushroom in a public area can report it to Access Canberra on 13 22 81.

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