Nonlethal Mushroom Poisoning

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The harvesting and consumption of wild mushrooms has become a popular pastime in many areas of the United States. Reports of mushroom poisonings and fatalities have been increasing since 1964. Between May 1973 and April 1978, 16 cases of mushroom poisonings were treated at our institution, including 13 within a 12-month period ending April 1978. All patients exhibited either gastrointestinal or neurologic symptoms, which responded to supportive therapy. There were no fatalities. In most cases, the clinical course can be predicted and appropriate therapy instituted if the mushroom is identified or if the interval between the ingestion and the onset of symptoms can be ascertained and certain characteristic symptoms are observed.

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