Eleven dead and hundreds poisoned from eating wild mushrooms in Iran

Eleven dead and hundreds poisoned from eating wild mushrooms in Iran after heavy rains caused bumper growth in toxic fungi

  • More than 800 people were poisoned after eating wild mushrooms in west Iran
  • The fungi have grown rapidly in mountainous areas after heavy spring showers
  • The appearance of the poisonous mushrooms are very similar to the edible ones
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More than 800 people have been poisoned and at least 11 people have died after eating toxic wild mushrooms in western parts of Iran.

Mushroom poisoning has no effective medical treatment and many victims may need liver transplantation, according to Iran’s Tasnim News Agency.

These poisonous wild mushroom have grown rapidly in mountainous areas following unprecedented spring showers in the past month, the report added.


Amanita phalloides, or death cap, grows in many forest areas in Iran. More than 800 people have been poisoned and at least 11 people have died after eating wild mushrooms in west Iran

Officials said the appearance of the toxic mushrooms is so similar to the edible ones that even local residents could not identify the difference.

While it is not confirmed what specific type of mushroom the victims ate, the Amanita phalloides, or death cap, is commonly found in the country’s forest areas.

The agency reported that about 50 victims were in critical condition, some of whom were on the waiting list for liver transplantation.

At least two people have received transplants, according to the BBC.

Mushrooms can be available for sale in the streets of Iran, but local folk wisdom about which ones are safe to eat can be unreliable. 


Amanita phalloides, or Death cap, grows in many forest cover areas in Iran


Seven of the 11 dead are from the Kermanshah area, 525 kilometres from Tehran in west Iran

People living in the provinces of Kermanshah, Kordestan, Lorestan, Zanjan, West Azerbaijan, Kohgiluye and Boyer-Ahmad, and Qazvin were affected by the poisonous wild fungi, the Tasnim report added, citing a spokesman for Iran’s Emergency Services. 

Seven of the dead are from the Kermanshah area.

People have been urged not to buy loose mushrooms and only purchase those packed and sealed in shops. 

The Health Ministry is conducting laboratory tests on seven strains of these toxic plants. 

What are the dangers of eating death cap mushrooms?

Amanita Phalloides, commonly known as the death cap, is a deadly poisonous fungus. A few mouthfuls of the death cap mushroom can kill.

They often grow near established oak trees, and are found when there is warm, wet weather.

The fungi stand out due to the pale green colouring of their caps, a bulbous end at the foot of the stalk and an annulus – a ring-like collar – at the top. 


Amanita Phalloides, or death cap, often grow near oak trees and are highly toxic

The death cap is native to Europe, where it is widespread in Britain and Ireland. It is also commonly found in northern Africa and in many parts of Asia, including the forests of Iran.

People are warned against picking or consuming wild death cap mushrooms. Cooking the fungi does not remove the death cap’s deadliest toxins, called amatoxins.

Looking like a delicious white button mushroom when young, the death cap’s appearance is far from deadly. It can be extremely difficult even for experienced collectors to distinguish them from an edible mushroom.

Symptoms of death cap mushroom poisoning generally occur six to 24 hours or more after ingestion of the mushrooms. They include stomach pains, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. 

The symptoms may subside after one to two days, giving a false impression of recovery. However, by this stage the toxin would have already caused serious liver damage and may result in death.

 

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