Tragically, a three-year-old boy from Victoria, Canada died this Wednesday after eating a poisonous mushroom, the Amanita phalloides. This mushroom kills more people than any other mushroom worldwide, but this is the first reported death in British Colombia. The toxin, called amatoxin, is not destroyed by cooking and one cap can be enough to kill an adult.
Although phalloides doesn’t resemble any edible mushrooms native to B.C., officials are worried about the rise in mushroom poisoning recently. These mushrooms can look similar to paddy straw mushrooms from Asian. Officials also suggest that Amanita phalloides is on the rise in B.C., and people just aren’t used to seeing it or hearing about it. Just twenty years ago, it hadn’t even been spotted in the area. They believe it was first introduced into the area from imported European Oak that was planted in city streets. Ongoing research may also suggest that the mushroom may be spreading from the European Oak to Canada’s native Garry Oak. This would provide even more habitat for the mushroom and increase its prevalence.
The British Colombia Centre for Disease Control has seen an increase in calls to their Poison Information Centre from mushroom foragers. In data released this summer showed double the amount of calls in July compared to the previous year. Weather conditions including unseasonable wet weather, along with increases in Amanita phalloides could be the reason they saw calls double. Mycologist and health officials alike are working to increase education in order to prevent more poisonings.
Johnson, L. (2016, October 12). 3-year-old Victoria boy dies from poisonous ‘death cap’ mushroom – British Columbia – CBC News. Retrieved October 14, 2016, from http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/death-cap-mushroom-victoria-boy-poisoned-1.3802245
Johnson, L. (2016, October 12). Deadliest mushroom in world on the rise in B.C. – British Columbia – CBC News. Retrieved October 14, 2016, from http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/deadliest-mushroom-in-world-on-the-rise-in-b-c-1.380016410.14.16