Wild mushroom poisoning: Delayed treatment leads to 100% mortality, says study

  • Vishav Bharti, Hindustantimes.com, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Mar 29, 2015 12:44 IST

When it comes to wild mushroom poisoning, the delay in treatment can result in nearly 100% mortality, a Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, study has found.

The study, which was published recently in the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hepatology, was carried out following a family of four from Trela village in Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh was rushed to the PGI emergency after they consumed wild mushrooms harvested from a hill, leading to poisoning and consequential death.

The study found that this is probably the first report of wild mushroom poisoning from Himachal. The study found that the family reported with amanita -- some of the most toxic known mushrooms -- like toxicity after consumption of wild mushrooms.

According to the PGI, the family comprising 35-year-old man, 33-year-old woman, and their 14-year-old daughter and 13-year-old son, consumed the wild mushrooms harvested from a hill in September 2011. The four developed pain in the abdomen, vomiting and bloody diarrhoea four to six hours after the consumption, the study found.

Though experts distinguish the poisonous from edible mushrooms, occasional cases of toxicity are reported due to accidental consumption of poisonous mushrooms. There was amanita-like toxicity in the family, resulting in the deaths.

There should be prompt recognition of the toxidrome and early hospitalisation and the delay in treatment could result in nearly 100% mortality, the study said.

The study observed that that such toxicity should be considered in the differential diagnosis of acute gastroenteritis and renal failure, especially during monsoon season in populations known to consume wild mushroom. "There is a need to educate the masses to recognise these poisonous mushrooms. In the absence of the culprit fungus and diagnostic tests, definitive diagnosis may be
difficult," the study observed.

Regional reference laboratories should be equipped for testing serum levels of amanitin levels to confirm the diagnosis, the study observed.

The wild species

In India, people consume 283 species of wild mushrooms

There are around 2,000 species recorded the world over

Around 100 species of mushrooms in India are known to be poisonous

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