What Is the Most Poisonous Mushroom?

Thumb wide mediumDeath Cap Mushrooms are Spreading Across North America:

’…Dr. Kathy Vo, a medical toxicologist in San Francisco, publishes case studies on rare or unusual poisonings. Amanita phalloides poisonings, she told me, are some of the worst. “When the liver starts to fail, you see bleeding disorders, brain swelling, multi-organ failure. It’s very, very rough,” she said.

The levels of fluid loss, Vo said, are some of the most dramatic she’s seen. The body flushes everything it has. “There’s not an antidote,” she said. “That’s what makes this particularly deadly. We institute a variety of therapies, but there’s not an A, B, C, D. It’s not always the same. The best bet for the patient is fluid, fluid, fluid; keep watching the liver, and if the liver is failing, go for a transplant.”

On average, one person a year has died in North America from ingesting death caps, though that number is rising as the mushroom spreads. More than 30 death-cap poisonings were reported in 2012, including three fatalities, while 2013 saw five cases and no deaths. In 2014, one person died of death-cap poisoning in Michigan; two in California; and one in Vancouver, after a Canadian man traveled to California, ate the mushrooms as part of a meal, and returned to Vancouver, where he became ill and died.

Amanita phalloides are said to be quite tasty, and a person who eats one could feel fine for a day or two before illness sets in. The poison is taken up by the liver cells, where it inhibits an enzyme responsible for protein synthesis; without protein, the cells begin to die, and the patient may start to experience nausea and diarrhea—symptoms that can easily be attributed to general food poisoning or other ailments. “If the patient doesn’t realize the connection, doesn’t see the illness as a result of eating a mushroom a day or two earlier, it’s a hard diagnosis,” said Vo.…’

Via The Atlantic

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