Avoid wild mushrooms, health officials warn

LOS ANGELES - Local residents are being warned not to eat wild mushrooms, which are becoming increasingly common due to seasonal rains."Wild mushrooms" refer to the many varieties of fungi that grow wild and are not cultivated. They tend to grow in shady, moist and humid environments. "It is very difficult to distinguish which mushrooms are dangerous and which are safe to eat," said Dr. Ron Chapman, director of the California Department of Public Health. "Consuming wild mushrooms can cause serious illness and even death." More than 1,600 cases of mushroom poisoning were reported in California between January 2011 and November 2012, including five deaths. Eighteen people suffered major injuries, such as kidney or liver failure. According to the California Poison Control system, 903 of the people who ingested poisonous mushrooms were children under the age of 6. Eating poisonous mushrooms can cause abdominal pain, cramping, vomiting, diarrhea, liver damage and death. Anyone who develops symptoms after eating wild mushrooms should seek immediate medical attention.

********** Published: December 13, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 35