Death Cap mushrooms found in Canberra

Released 03/02/2016

ACT Chief Health Officer, Dr Paul Kelly today alerted the community that Death Cap mushrooms have been found in several locations in the ACT due to the recent wet weather.

Dr Kelly said in previous years, Death Cap mushrooms were typically seen in Canberra from late March. For the last two years Death Cap mushrooms have been found as early as February, due to lower temperatures and heavier than usual rain fall.

“In Canberra, Death Cap mushrooms grow mainly near established oak trees in the wet, warm weather typically observed in late summer and autumn. However this year, due to recent wet weather we’ve been alerted to mushroom sighting earlier than usual,” Dr Kelly said.

 “In light of these sightings, I’m reminding the Canberra community that Death Cap mushrooms are extremely poisonous and can easily be confused with other wild mushrooms.

“People should not pick or eat any wild mushrooms. 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 to eat.

“It can be extremely difficult for even experienced collectors to distinguish Death Cap from an edible mushroom.

“Anyone who suspects they may 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.

During the last 16 years, there have been a number of poisonings, including four fatalities associated with Death Cap mushrooms in the ACT. 

The community is reminded to remain vigilant and tell 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.

Important information about the Death Cap mushroom is available on the ACT Health website at:   

Statement Ends/ 3 February 2016

Media Contact:                    ACT Health Media                0403 344 080             

- Statement ends -

Section: ACT Health Directorate | Media Releases

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