July 2, 1997

Amanita phalloides Mushroom Poisoning—Northern California, January 1997

JAMA. 1997;278(1):16-17. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03550010028015

THE POPULAR interest in gathering and eating uncultivated mushrooms has been associated with an increase in incidents of serious mushroom-related poisonings.1 From December 28, 1996, through January 6, 1997, nine persons in northern California required hospitalization after eating Amanita phalloides (i.e., "death cap") mushrooms; two of these persons died. Risks associated with eating these mushrooms result from a potent hepatotoxin. This report describes four cases of A. phalloides poisoning in patients admitted to a regional referral hospital in northern California during January 1997 and underscores that wild mushrooms should not be eaten unless identified as nonpoisonous by a mushroom expert.

Case 1.  A 32-year-old man gathered and ate wild mushrooms that he believed were similar to other mushrooms he had previously gathered and eaten. Eight hours later, he developed vomiting and profuse diarrhea; he was admitted to a hospital 19 hours after ingestion. On admission, he was dehydrated