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Deadly mushroom sends child to hospital for second month in a row

A young child was rushed to hospital on Tuesday after eating a deadly mushroom in Canberra.

It is the second month in a row the potentially fatal death cap mushroom has hospitalised a kid after another child was taken to Canberra Hospital on March 18.

The mushrooms are known to grow in the territory at this time of year, prompting another warning from the ACT’s Chief Health Officer Doctor Kerryn Coleman.

“This is an unfortunate reminder that wild mushrooms can grow anywhere in our region at any time,“ she said on Wednesday.

“As the name suggests, death cap mushrooms can be deadly, and all parts of the mushroom are poisonous whether they have been cooked or not.

Death cap mushrooms have been spotted in Canberra since January and have now sent two children to hospital. Supplied
Camera IconDeath cap mushrooms have been spotted in Canberra since January and have now sent two children to hospital. Supplied Credit: Supplied

“Canberrans should remember that it is never safe to pick and eat wild mushrooms.”

Dr Coleman said people should avoid even touching them and not “take the risk” of eating mushrooms they have found in the wild.

Death cap mushrooms are often found in Canberra during autumn and are known to grow near oak trees, though they have been spotted elsewhere.

Symptoms of poisoning generally occur within six to 24 hours after eating one and include stomach pains, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.

If these symptoms subside after one or two days it is not a sign of recovery, as severe liver damage will have already been caused by the toxin.

This can lead to liver failure and even death.

Supplied Editorial Fwd: Death Caps photo
Camera IconDeath cap mushrooms are known to grow in Canberra during autumn. SA Health. Credit: Supplied

Since 2002, four people have died in the territory because of the mushroom, while numerous people have been poisoned.

The best advice for people who suspect they have eaten death cap mushrooms is to seek urgent medical attention, bringing a sample of the mushroom with them if possible.

“The chances of survival increase when treatment is started early,” Dr Coleman said.

Sightings of the mushroom can be reported to Access Canberra on 13 22 81.

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