With wild mushroom growth prompted by seasonal rains, the California Department of Public Health issued a warning this week to discourage consumers from precariously collecting and eating wild mushrooms.
According to the California Poison Control System, of the 1,602 cases of mushroom ingestion reported in California from January 2011 through November 2012, five people died, 18 people suffered major health issues, and 30 people were admitted to intensive care units.
Among the most harmful mushrooms is the Amanita ocreata, also known as the "destroying angel" or "death angel," which causes liver damage and can lead to serious illness or death, according to the California Department of Public Health.
Symptoms from eating poisonous mushrooms can include abdominal pain, cramping, vomiting, diarrhea, and liver damage, according to the health department.
Anyone who develops symptoms after eating wild mushrooms should seek medical attention immediately and contact the California Poison Control System at (800) 222-1222.
Individuals planning to forage for wild mushrooms are encouraged to seek out educational resources provided by local mycological societies and can find more information at the North American Mycological Association's website, www.namyco.org.