Doctors warn of deadly, toxic wild mushroom growing in the Tri-State

The variety remains unidentified but could be similar to a mushroom that grows north of here called ‘destroying angel.’
Published: Sep. 22, 2022 at 10:15 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - Local hospital officials are warning people not to eat wild mushrooms foraged from the Tri-State.

A Cincinnati Children’s Hospital spokesperson took to Twitter Thursday to announce cases of illness that resulted from eating a specific variety of wild mushroom that appears to be “highly toxic.”

One official suggested the problem could worsen due to the inevitable spread of that variety in this area.

Cincinnati Drug and Poison Information Center Medical Director Shan Yin, MD, put the case number in the single digits. They also said people of all ages are affected.

“What’s most worrisome about these types of mushrooms is they can cause a kind of damage to your liver and that some people can progress to needing a liver transplant,” Yin explained. “Some, I mean, they can be fatal. You can die of ascension, liver failure.”

Yin cautions people against foraging because it can be extremely dangerous for those lacking experience.

“People who move from Europe or Asia are used to foraging for mushrooms in their country,” Yin said. “And then they come to United States, and it’s a different, you know, just a different environment. They think that they’re getting edible mushrooms.”

Yin says they haven’t yet identified the type of mushroom at fault but speculates it’s similar to a variety identified in northern Ohio called Amanita bisporigera. It’s more commonly called the “destroying angel.”

A North Carolina State University research paper describes it as follows:

“The mushroom cap can grow to 4 inches across and is white and smooth, with a center that becomes a dull tan with age. The gills are white, not attached to the stalk, and close. The stalk is white, cottony to somewhat pearly, and sometimes with a bulbous base. The annulus is white, large, flaring, persistent, and is located at the top of the stalk, cup-like sheath (volva) at the base of the stalk, and white. The spore print is white.”

Yin believes the mushroom could be spreading into the region.

“Once there’s one mushroom growing in this area, there’s going to be more,” he said.

Yin says it’s hard to treat symptoms because there’s no specific antidote.

Some signs to look for are abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

If you develop symptoms, call the Poison Control Center at 1.800.222.1222.

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