Deathcap mushroom mistaken for a cep

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The trio fatally confused the cep (or penny bun), left; with the amanita phalloides (death cap), right

A woman has died, and two people have been hospitalised after mistaking a deadly mushroom with a cep.

The couple and a member of the family were foraging, and they picked what they thought were ceps, cooked them, and ate them.

The mushrooms were in fact amanita phalloides (also known as the “death cap”), which are extremely poisonous. Just half of one can be enough to kill a human, and the toxicity is not reduced by cooking, freezing, or drying.

The body of the 49-year-old woman was discovered by her husband, three days after the trio ate the mushrooms. The woman, the man, and his sister – who had been staying with the couple – had all been very ill since eating the fungi.

The husband and sister called the emergency services, who confirmed the woman’s death, and took the pair to the Faye-l’Abesse hospital in Deux-Sèvres.

They were then taken to the Anti-Poison Centre at the Tours CHU (hospital), and have now recovered.

An inquiry into “cause of death” has now been opened, and an autopsy is expected.

Death cap mushrooms are considred to be particularly dangerous, not only for their toxicity, but also because they can appear very similar to edible varieties, and usually smell and taste pleasant.

They can cause gastrointestinal problems within hours of eating, which, if left untreated, can cause heart issues and dehydration; and damage the liver, leading to problems including jaundice, liver failure, kidney failure, pancreatic inflammation, and brain bleeds. Death usually follows within six to 16 days.

In a warning published this week, the Agence Régionale de Santé (ARS) said that people “in even the slightest doubt” about the kind of mushrooms they have picked, should “check with a specialist, pharmacist or mycology centre” before eating.

Source: The Connexion