There is a new report by the CDC about 14 death cap California poisonings, but most of the data discusses people that had hepatotoxicity resulting from A. phalloides ingestion in December 2016.
However, the question remains about why these people are suddenly getting poisoned from death cap mushrooms in California in such large numbers — and what can be done about it.
There are also several concerns about how to stop the death cap mushroom from spreading since it is not native to America or California.
Currently, there are several warnings being circulated about the death cap California situation. In short, the messages stress that, while the growth of the death cap mushroom was recently triggered by heavy rains that will eventually subside in 2017, the upcoming drought cycle will not inhibit the death cap’s growth.
In California, the news from the CDC confirming the 14 death cap poisonings in December 2016 described three cases of hepatotoxicity resulting from A. phalloides ingestion as being particularly life-changing.
For example, CBS Local Los Angeles reported that “three people needed liver transplants, including an 18-month-old girl who suffered permanent neurological damage.”
It was also reported that doctors said these 14 people poisoned in the death cap California outbreak gathered them in the wild because they thought they were edible.
The CDC said that death cap poisoning can be prevented in buying or collecting mushrooms in the wild by having a mushroom expert (mycologist) inspect them before ingesting.
Responding to the CDC report, on June 1, California issued an emergency warning in the poison control system to remind citizens that the death cap mushroom is a “triple threat” to the community.
For example, according to Food Safety News, death cap mushrooms are a year-round threat in California; it is easily confused with non-poisonous mushrooms like the common white button mushroom; the toxins are heat-stable and will not reduce when cooked; and they are also lethal at very small doses.
For this reason, children or pets touching death cap mushrooms can cause a fatal reaction.
An NPR report from March quoted Debbie Viess of the Bay Area Mycological Society saying the bloom of death cap mushrooms in California has been devastating to pets and that “dogs die in droves,” because they can easily come in contact with the death cap mushroom.
The death cap mushroom situation in California may have been pushed by heavy rains that also caused a super bloom in the deserts in California, but the appearance of the death cap in California also has an additional sinister side.
While they may be becoming common in California, death cap mushrooms are not native to that state and are an invasive species from Europe, according to a January 20 report from East Bay Times.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, death cap mushroom superblooms may have been expected since it was predicted that this year would be especially rainy due to a historic weather cycle in California. For example, rainy cycle that occurs about every 10 years affects winery grape crops in the Napa Valley, and years such as 2016/2017 were already predicted as being years that the wine harvest would be a bust.
While California might have had an inkling this would happen, Germany was not so lucky. Although they are a native European species, in 2011, a similar problem with death cap mushroom superblooms arose in Germany after it was exceptionally rainy that year.
According to Die Welt, the problem has been ongoing, and a teenage refugee from Syria died in Germany in 2015 after eating a death cap mushroom that looked similar to the edible wild type found in the Middle East.
It was also reported in early May by ABC Australia that death cap mushrooms are becoming invasive in other places besides California. For instance, death cap mushrooms were recently found growing for the first time in Tasmania, Australia.
[Feature Image by Sean Gallup/Getty Images]