Hospitals see uptick in wild mushroom poisoning

Monterey County hospitals have seen a rise in people falling ill after consuming poisonous wild mushrooms, which has prompted county health officials to warn the public of the risks in gathering and eating them.

“Some poisonous wild mushrooms look and smell like edible types of mushrooms,” county Health Officer Dr. Edward Moreno said in a statement Wednesday:

“Only people with extensive training and experience should eat wild mushrooms that they have picked themselves.”

Wild mushrooms typically grow in shady, moist and humid places and aren’t cultivated by commercial growers, county health officials said.

Common types include varieties of Amanita ocreata, also known as Death Angel; Amanita phalloides, otherwise known as Death Cap; and Amanita muscaria, otherwise known as Fly Amanita, which grow in some areas of the state throughout the year, health officials said.

Anyone who eats poisonous mushrooms and experiences symptoms such as abdominal pain, cramps, vomiting and diarrhea are advised to quickly seek medical attention, according to health officials.

Some cases of poisonous mushroom ingestion can result in liver damage or death, health officials said.

Additional information on identifying and treating mushroom poisoning can be found by calling California Poison Control at (800) 222-1222.