Fungus poisoning increases dramatically

Fungus poisoning is increasing dramatically this year. According to information from the Poison Information Center, the number of poisonings due to poisonous mushrooms is expected to double.

(09/22/2010) The weather makes mushrooms of all kinds grow. A lot of sun and rain are the ideal weather conditions to let mushrooms sprout. But not only experienced collectors are looking for mushrooms in the woods, just as many inexperienced people. The number of fungal poisonings will double this year, according to the Poison Information Center in Göttingen.

The ideal mushroom weather currently prevails. Moisture, mild temperatures and sun make the mushrooms grow. This also attracts many inexperienced collectors. Many types of mushrooms can hardly be distinguished. For example, the very poisonous tapered agaric mushroom is very similar to the forest and meadow mushroom. Even a small amount of the toxic tuber agaric can lead to acute life failure in humans and ultimately to death.

According to information from the Poison Information Center (GIZ-Nord) in Göttingen, the number of fungal poisonings has risen sharply. Compared to the previous year, twice as many requests were made to the center due to actual or alleged poisoning. The number of suspected cases per mushroom season is usually around 300, this year there could be around 600, as GIZ employee Martin Ebbecke reports.

The center cites the reason that the favorable weather has a positive effect on mushroom growth. There were masses of mushrooms and inexperienced collectors simply collected everything. Mushroom pickers most often poison themselves with the highly toxic tuber agaric. In August of this year, a 69-year-old woman from Braunschweig had died of the effects of fungal poisoning. The collector had mistaken and eaten mushrooms for the tuber agaric. Other collectors from northern Germany had contracted such severe poisoning last week that they now need a new liver. Last weekend, eight people in Berlin were hospitalized for fungal poisoning. The poison control center therefore advises everyone not to collect mushrooms without knowledge.

The first symptoms of fungal intoxication can be malaise, nausea and vomiting. Anyone who feels such symptoms after eating mushrooms should definitely call an emergency doctor. Because only with fast medical care can the health consequences of fungal poisoning be reduced. A doctor should also be informed if the symptoms subside. Because that too can be a typical symptom of fungal intoxication. The Poison Information Center is responsible for the federal states of Lower Saxony, Bremen, Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein. (sb)

Also read:
Naturopathy: mushrooms as medicine
Fungus poisoning: collectors poisoned themselves in Berlin

Image: Rita Köhler /

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