ACT Chief Health Officer, Dr Paul Kelly today alerted the community that Death Cap mushrooms have been found in the ACT.
Dr Kelly said Death Cap mushrooms can easily be confused with edible wild mushrooms.
“People should not pick or eat any wild mushrooms,” Dr Kelly said.
“All parts of the Death Cap mushroom are poisonous, and eating just one can be fatal. Cooking the Death Cap mushroom does not make it safe.
“It can be extremely difficult for even experienced collectors to distinguish the small button Death Cap from an edible mushroom.
“In Canberra, Death Cap mushrooms grow mainly near established oak trees in mild, moist weather typically observed in late summer and autumn.
“With the recent cool weather, Death Cap mushrooms have been found around Canberra,” Dr Kelly said.
“Anyone who suspects that they might have eaten Death Cap mushrooms should seek urgent medical attention at a hospital emergency department.
“The sooner treatment begins, the better the patient’s chances of survival,” Dr Kelly said.
In the last 15 years, there have been four fatalities associated with Death Cap mushrooms in the ACT. During this period there have also been a number of poisonings associated with Death Cap mushrooms in the ACT.
It is advised that people remain vigilant and remind friends and family who are visiting or new to Canberra not to pick and eat any wild mushrooms. For safety, all mushrooms should be purchased from a reputable supplier.
A fact sheet providing important information about the Death Cap mushroom is available online at: http://health.act.gov.au/publications/fact-sheets/death-cap-mushrooms