With the recent heavy rainfall and humidity, wild mushrooms have been shooting up in mountain forests and grasslands. In Nantou County’s Puli Township a man picked some unfamiliar fungi growing in the National Chung Hsing University experimental forest area along Nanan Road and took them home to cook. The result was that the whole family of five had to rush to hospital. For the sake of filling their bellies they almost lost their lives. It was truly a case of biting off more than they could chew.
You hear many stories of people eating unfamiliar mushrooms and giving themselves food poisoning, and yet people still do it, especially when the plum rains season arrives and the weather gets hot and humid, providing the perfect conditions for fungi growth. This is when the Puli Christian Hospital received a case of a family of five mistakenly eating poisonous mushrooms and rushing to seek emergency treatment.
According to the hospital, a 47-year-old man was walking around the National Chung Hsing University experimental forest area along Nanan Road on the evening of May 21 and discovered a cluster of white mushrooms on slender stalks sprouting among the grass. He picked some of them and took them home, where he cooked up a pot of wild mushroom soup, which he shared with his wife, mother and two children. That night, one after the other, the five of them developed a stomachache, nausea, vomiting and numbness, and wondered whether it was the mushrooms. They quickly packed up the leftover mushrooms and rushed off to the emergency room. After the five of them were treated with anti-toxins the symptoms gradually abated, and they were then admitted to the hospital and kept in for observation and treatment.
Photo: Tung Chen-kuo, Liberty Times 照片：自由時報記者佟振國
As to the identification of the wild mushrooms that caused the food poisoning, the hospital froze the specimens, contacted the county government health bureau and sent the specimens off for further tests. It also carried out an on-site inspection of the grassland in the university experimental forest area and discovered that there were, indeed, many slender, white mushrooms growing there. These mushrooms would keel over, or the cap split, to the touch. The mushroom cap itself was white, with a fine yellow dusting and scales in the center and a tire-like groove running around the edge. On cross-checking with other mushroom types, the mushroom was determined to be a Leucocoprinus fragilissimus, common name fragile dapperling. However, whether this was the mushroom that the man had picked and eaten, or whether the family had been poisoned by a different kind altogether, has yet to be confirmed.
(Translated by Paul Cooper, Taipei Times)
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