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Poisonous mushrooms destroy liver and kill, experts warn

In Italy in October alone six cases led to liver transplants

31 October, 18:58
Poisonous mushrooms destroy liver and kill, experts warn (ANSA) – Rome, October 31 – Lovers of wild mushrooms beware of what you eat: there are many poisonous varieties out there and the risks to health are high.

In October alone, six people in Italy needed liver transplants after accidentally eating poisonous fungi, according to the national transplant center, leading the health ministry to issue a warning about the dangers.

People who pick wild mushrooms should take them to a local health authority (ASL) for examination before eating them, the authorities warn.

Some varieties of fungi contain toxins which can destroy a liver’s cells. The only cure for this type of problem, Alessandro Nanni Costa of the national transplant center told Ansa, is a transplant.

The symptoms are easy to detect: vomiting and strong gastro-intestinal pains, which appear from a few hours to 24 hours after eating. Time for action is fairly tight: at most 36 hours after the onset of the symptoms for a liver transplant. There are some drugs which can delay the acute phase of the liver damage, gaining caregivers some extra breathing space. Much, however, depends on the quantity of toxins ingested, Costa said.

One of the recently reported six cases involved a two-year old girl who was given a liver transplant in Bergamo.

On October 22 an entire family (father, mother and daughter) died after eating poisonous mushrooms. In Italy there are between 600 and 1,300 cases every year of poisoning.

For this reason Health Minister Renato Balduzzi warned recently that to avoid unnecessary risks, people should always bring picked mushrooms to experts for examination before eating them.