Death cap mushroom warning issued after record number of poisonings

Death cap mushroom warning issued after record number of poisonings

An urgent warning has been issued for Melbourne and regional Victoria after the number of mushroom poisoning incidents doubled across the state.

On Wednesday, the health department said a combination of recent rain and "ideal growing conditions" have caused the deadly mushrooms to sprout across the state, particularly the toxic Deathcap and the Yellow Stainer.

Multiple poisoning cases required people to be treated in intensive care.

Victoria's Poisons Information Centre saw an influx of calls in 2020, due to the combination of the COVID-19 pandemic.

There were 426 calls, which was more than double from the last two years.

Previously, the mushrooms have sprouted in a number of public areas in the city, including the Domain Gardens and the Botanic Gardens.

“Symptoms of poisoning can include violent stomach pains, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea,” Victoria’s Deputy Chief Health Officer Dr Angie Bone said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Symptoms may subside after a day or two - but this doesn’t necessarily mean recovery in the case of Death Cap poisoning.

“Death can follow within 48 hours from serious liver damage. The Death Cap is extremely toxic and responsible for 90 per cent of all mushroom poisoning deaths.”

Both the Deatchcap and Yellow Stainer mushrooms look almost identical to edible mushrooms found at supermarkets.

In May 2020, Dr Bone said one elderly person died in hospital after consuming deadly mushrooms.

Around eight people were also “severely poisoned” in the space of just a few days.