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Mushroom scare in ACT

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Health authorities in the ACT have advised customers who may be feeling ill after recently buying mushrooms from an ACT supermarket to seek immediate medical attention following a possible Death Cap mushroom poisoning.

ACT Health is investigating three cases of possible poisoning by Death Cap mushrooms which may have been purchased from a Woolworths in the suburb of Dickson.

Three patients from the same household attended Canberra’s Calvary Hospital in the last 48 hours with symptoms of Death Cap mushroom poisoning.

“This appears to be an isolated incident and there have been no other recent reports of Death Cap mushroom poisoning in the ACT,” the territory’s chief health officer Dr Paul Kelly said.

In a statement on Saturday night, Woolworths advised that customers who feel ill to follow ACT Health’s recommendations and seek immediate medical attention.

ACT Health also advised people who bought mushrooms from Woolworths Dickson about April 17 to throw them away as a precaution.

Woolworths says it is not aware of any other cases.

“We take customer safety very seriously and are working closely with our supplier and ACT Health to investigate the claims,” the company said.

In Canberra in 2012, a man and a woman died and two others were poisoned but recovered after consuming a meal which contained Death Cap mushrooms.

“People are reminded not to pick and eat any wild mushrooms. It can be extremely difficult for even experienced collectors to distinguish Death Cap mushrooms from other edible mushrooms,” Dr Kelly said.

The highly toxic Death Cap mushroom is a native to Europe but has spread around the world, with populations observed in Canberra, Melbourne and Adelaide. It resembles a common edible variety used in Chinese cooking.