DOH-Cordillera warns public vs wild mushrooms

BAGUIO CITY (PNA) – The Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday urged the public to be vigilant when buying and consuming mushrooms and make sure they are not the poisonous wild variety which becomes abundant during the rainy season.

Jethro Simeon, senior health officer at the DOH-Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (RESU), said not all mushrooms in the wild are edible, adding that several cases of wild mushroom poisoning have recently been recorded in the region.

“We recommend that the public prefer to buy the commercially produced in legitimate selling areas, especially if they do not know how to decipher. So that they do not mistake a poisonous one from an edible one,” Simeon said in a press conference at the regional office here.

He cited an incident in Barangay Balawag in Tabuk, Kalinga where 14 people, aged two to 69 years, fell ill after consuming wild mushrooms. Another incident, in Cudal, also in Tabuk, downed three persons. Both incidents happened on August 11.

“In both incidents, someone picked wild mushrooms at the forest and several people ate them not knowing that what was gathered were not edible ones,” Simeon said.

All the victims were hospitalized but were sent home after several days of receiving medical treatment for vomiting, abdominal pain, and dizziness.

The DOH official described the most common poisonous type as the one with a ring-like structure on its stem and scales on its umbrella.

“It is difficult to identify them because there are numerous types so the best thing to do if you are not sure is do not pick or buy and prefer the cultured ones which are surely edible and will not endanger you or your family,” he said.

“In case of emergency, seek medical help immediately,” Simeon said.