Deadly Backyard Mushrooms: California Deaths Linked To Toxic Fungi

By Amir Khan on November 14, 2012 9:43 AM EST

Mushroom
Deadly backyard mushrooms are responsible for sickening four and killing two, authorities said on Monday. (Photo: Creative Commons)

Deadly backyard mushrooms are responsible for sickening four and killing two, authorities said on Monday. A caretaker made the wild mushrooms into a soup, unaware of the mushroom's toxicity, and it led to two women dying.

The caretaker found the deadly backyard mushrooms on the property after a rain and turned them into a soup that six people ate, including herself. All of the six became very ill and two eventually died after eating the deadly backyard mushrooms.

"The caretaker just didn't know, and she went outside and picked these mushrooms and made dinner, and she ate some of it herself," Lt. Mark Reed of the Placer County sheriff's office, said, according to the Associated Press. It's definitely a sad, sad thing."

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Authorities quickly pinpointed the soup made from the deadly backyard mushrooms as the culprit, as the only woman living in the home to not eat the soup was fine.

"She didn't eat it. They said she was an ornery lady and didn't want to eat," Reed said.

Many toxic mushrooms look like edible varieties, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation.

"A significant number of mushroom poisonings occur when visitors or immigrants accidentally eat poisonous mushrooms that look similar to edible ones in their home regions or countries," the department says.

The caretaker is an immigrant, but whether she confused the deadly backyard mushroom with a strain she is more used to is unclear.

"She just thought it was OK to use them," Reed said. "I don't know how long she has been in the country."

California law does not prohibit the use of foraged ingredients, but that soon may change. Until then, Michael Borisov, the son-in-law of the care home's owners, is simply asking for comfort.

"We are asking God to comfort all of our residents and their loved ones through the difficulty of this unintentional tragic event," he said in a statement. "Some of you have been a part of our family for years, and all of you are very dear to us. We are grieving with you and our prayers are for you."

 

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