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Confusion happens every day: experts warn of fatal poisoning with fungi


Dramatic increase: life-threatening poisoning from fungi
Germany's forests could become a real paradise for mushroom pickers this year due to the weather. Many Germans love to roam through nature in late summer and bring delicious mushrooms home with them. However, there are also numerous species that can harm your health. Experts warn of partially life-threatening fungal poisoning.

Mushrooms thrive splendidly
The abundant continuous rain in recent weeks has spoiled the summer for many, but mushroom fans can now look forward to it. The grubby weather already ensured that there was a growth spurt in mushrooms in July. Anyone looking for tasty mushrooms on meadows and in forests should, however, be well acquainted with it. Because confusion always leads to fungal poisoning. Partly fatal.

The number of cases of poisoning has doubled
Just a few days ago, several children with severe fungal poisoning had been hospitalized in Hanover.

There have also been numerous dangerous mix-ups elsewhere. The experts from the Poison Information Center North of the federal states of Bremen, Hamburg, Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein (GIZ-Nord) report in a message that there were twice as many cases of poisoning in July 2017 than in the previous years.

The risk of poisoning from self-collected mushrooms should not be underestimated.

Confuse poisonous with edible mushrooms
According to GIZ-Nord, the majority of these poisonings are divided into two groups: Firstly, there are small children who discover poisonous mushrooms while playing and consume them raw. On the other hand, there are adults who confuse poisonous with edible mushrooms.

This confusion often occurs among refugees and people with a migration background, such as Eastern Europeans, who know other edible mushrooms in their home country and confuse them with the visually similar but highly toxic mushrooms that grow in Germany.

One of these dangerous toadstools, which has been mistaken for refugees and migrants for an edible home mushroom in recent years and also in the 2017 mushroom season, is the tuber agaric.

Symptoms do not appear immediately after consumption
"The tricky thing about the highly toxic tuberous mushrooms is the latency in addition to the similarity to edible mushrooms," explains Professor Dr. Andreas Schaper, one of the two directors of GIZ-Nord.

"The symptoms of poisoning do not appear immediately after consumption, but only after a latency of six to a maximum of 24 hours. The classic is that toadstools are eaten in the evening and the next morning you get nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. "

A case from Münster also shows how dangerous such confusion can be. A 16-year-old refugee from Syria died there last autumn because he had accidentally consumed tuber agarics.

Poisoning is usually due to amatoxin, a toxic protein that is found in some mushrooms. This cannot be made ineffective by cooking or drying.

Show finds to an expert if necessary
"It is important not to take any risks," warned Bavaria's Health Minister Melanie Huml. “That means: steer clear of mushrooms that you don't exactly know! Because poisonous or spoiled mushrooms can be life-threatening! "

Experts generally advise against collecting "by book, app or internet". Even with the slightest doubt, the find should be shown to someone who is familiar with it.

Such experts can be found on the Internet, among other things. For example, the German Society for Mycology (DGfM) has published a list of experts on its website in Berlin, most of whom work free of charge or for a small fee.

If you suspect fungal poisoning, see a doctor immediately
"If you suspect fungal poisoning, you should immediately contact the nearest hospital or call the emergency doctor," advises Professor Dr. Michael P. Manns, Chairman of the Board of the German Liver Foundation.

“Under no circumstances should you try to treat the symptoms yourself with medication or home remedies. This could even make poisoning worse, ”said Huml.

"An early diagnosis of poisoning and an immediate start of treatment are extremely important for the healing prospects," explains Professor Dr. Man.

In order to facilitate the diagnosis, the remains of the fungus and the vomit should be kept and passed on to the doctor. (ad)

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