The B.C Medical Journal is warning Canadians that the "death cap mushroom," the world's deadliest mushroom, has started spreading to Canada, particularly in British Columbia.
The mushroom is the cause behind 90% of the world's mushroom-related deaths, according to CBC.
TL;DR The world's most deadly mushroom has become prevalent in British Columbia and has doctor's worried after recent cases of poisoning. The mushroom is easily mistaken for common and edible mushrooms and symptoms present like the flu.
Amatoxins in Amanita phalloides, commonly known as the death cap mushroom, are responsible for 90% of the world’s mushroom-related fatalities and three recent poisoning cases in BC. https://t.co/vmvFewMw1G @MedCouncilCan pic.twitter.com/LYRU54JMxG— BC Medical Journal (@BCMedicalJrnl) February 28, 2019
The death cap mushroom is becoming more common because it was present on European trees that have been imported into the west coast.
Symptoms of the deadly mushroom set in between six and twelve hours after consumption and present like the flu.
The symptoms include nausea, diarrhea and vomiting... and then the symptoms all but disappear.
The world’s most poisonous mushroom, Amanita phalloides, is growing in BC. Commonly known as the death cap mushroom, it can be easily mistaken for edible mushrooms such as the puffball. https://t.co/vmvFewMw1G @StatCan_eng pic.twitter.com/ikLGtDETgt— BC Medical Journal (@BCMedicalJrnl) February 27, 2019
This is why doctors are so concerned, and also explains why this mushroom is responsible for so many deaths.
People who consume the mushroom and get sick believe they've gotten better, maybe they just had a 24-hour bug, and carry on.
However, when symptoms disappear, the mushroom is still latent in the consumer's system, and reportedly cause "massive destruction of the liver and the kidney."
The mushrooms are often found around Garry oak trees or hornbeam trees, both found very commonly in British Columbia.
This mushroom is even more worrisome because of its striking similarity to the edible paddy-straw mushroom and puffball mushrooms.
Though straw mushrooms don't grow in naturally in British Columbia, foragers are known to mistake the death cap for the common edible mushroom species.
The CBC reports that there have been two recent cases in British Columbia, one in Victoria and one in Vancouver.
Fortunately, both cases were caught in time and both patients survived. There was also a case in 2016 where a three-year-old boy died.
People who often hike and forage in the area should be cognizant of the mushroom as it becomes increasingly common in Vancouver, Victoria and the Fraser Valley.
Also, if after eating anything that was foraged in the woods you find yourself with flu-like symptoms, don't overlook them! Head to the doctor immediately. Better safe than sorry.