Amanita phalloides

Victorian poisoned after eating death cap mushrooms picked in a backyard

Island Health issues warning after harvester taken out of province for treatment

Just because something is growing in your backyard doesn’t make it safe to eat.

A Victoria resident learned that the hard way last week after eating one of the deadliest mushrooms found on Vancouver Island.

The victim, only identified as a Victoria resident, was first hospitalized in Victoria, and has now been taken out of province for treatment after likely ingesting a death cap mushroom harvested from a downtown property last last week.

Island Health is warning recreational wild mushroom pickers to use extreme caution after what it is calling a serious poisoning.

“Poisonous mushrooms such as the death cap do not just grow in the forest,” chief medical health Officer Dr. Richard Stanwick said. “They can be found anywhere, including urban areas.”

Scientifically known as Amanita phalloides, the mushrooms are part of a fungus family thought responsible for about 95 per cent of mushroom deaths. The B.C. Centre for Disease Control issued a warning this summer connected to their proliferation.

According to that warning, no one has died from a B.C. death cap mushroom, but Stanwick certainly does not want to be reporting the first.

“We are very concerned that people may not have sufficient experience or knowledge to tell the difference between a poisonous and non-poisonous mushroom,” he said in a media release. “The differences can be very subtle and for some species, only a microscopic examination can distinguish the safe variety. Picking wild mushrooms is an activity that requires real expertise, and experts are amongst the most cautious of foragers.”

Stanwick said samples of mushrooms thought to be Amanita phalloides were collected yesterday from the site where the individual foraged, and will be sent for confirmatory testing.

Death cap mushrooms are not native to B.C. They are believed to have been introduced into the environment in the roots of imported hardwood trees such as Hornbeam.

Tips to stay safe while mushroom hunting, courtesy Island Health:

• If you are unsure or uncertain, don’t eat it;

• Only pick and eat mushrooms that are well known, distinct and easily identifiable;

• Eat small amounts;

• If you suspect you’ve consumed a poisonous mushroom, call the BC Drug and Poison Information Centre at 1-800-567-8911 or 604-682-5050, and seek medical attention, or call 911. In both cases, keep a sample of the mushroom or food that was eaten.

For more information, please go to the BC Centre for Disease Control website and search Death Cap mushrooms.

Just Posted

Site C dam goes ahead, cost estimate now up to $10.7 billion

Premier John Horgan says Christy Clark left him no other choice

Ucluelet irked as Tofino spurns Pacific Rim Visitors Centre

“This council really hoped that we were going to try to foster some new relationships.”

Tofino honours longtime volunteer

Notes from Nov. 28 council meeting.

Jamie’s Whaling Station gives big to local non-profits

Over $80,000 in visitor fees donated back to community.

Me Too At Work: Sexual assault and harassment in the B.C. workplace

Introducing an in-depth look at who is affected and what can be done

Bomb detonated in Kamloops neighbourhood

Kamloops RCMP are investigating after an improvised explosive device was detonated Wednesday morning

No More Shootouts: Strong defence will be Canada’s backbone at world juniors

Head coach doesn’t want a situation where a hot goalie or a lucky bounce can determine a team’s fate

Proposed snowmobiles along Sicamous roads concern RCMP

RCMP, ICBC and province not yet on-board with proposed off-road bylaw in the B.C. Interior

‘Assemble your own meal’ kits grow into $120M industry in Canada

Kits offer a middle ground between eating out and grocery shopping

Millennials closing in as B.C.’s biggest wine drinkers

Generation X leads the way in current consumption of B.C. wine, as more wine drinkers are enjoying local varietals

Canadians lag behind Americans in giving to charity

Only one-in-five Canadians donated to charities in 2017

Pair of pubs in Nanaimo scrap straws

VIU Students’ Union Pub, Dinghy Dock Pub no longer put straws in drinks

One man in hospital following targeted shooting in Courtenay

A 57-year-old Courtenay man is in hospital with a gunshot wound following… Continue reading

Most Read