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The world’s deadliest mushroom could be in your back yard


Researchers are warning that the world’s most poisonous mushroon, Amanita phalloides—commonly known as the death cap—is expanding its range in southern coastal B.C. since it was first discovered here more than two decades ago.

In a paper published in the latest issue of the B.C. Medical Journal (BCMJ), UBC medical student Maxwell Moor-Smith, pharmacist and poison specialist Raymond Li, and UBC associate professor and physician Omar Ahmad write that mushroom foragers and health-care providers need to be aware of both the risks involved in consuming wild mushrooms and the symptoms of A. phalloides poisoning.

The toxic compound found in death caps, known as an amatoxin, is thought to be reponsible for about 90 percent of all mushroom fatalities worldwide. It attacks the liver and kidneys, can be lethal even in small doses, and is not rendered harmless by cooking, freezing, or drying.

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