Death cap mushroom (BC Centre for Disease Control)

The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) is alerting British Columbians to keep an eye out for poisonous mushrooms as we head into the long weekend.

These mushrooms can cause serious poisoning and may be lethal if ingested by people, particularly children, and pets.

According to BCCDC, the poisonous death cap mushroom has been spotted in urban areas and is warning people to keep an eye out for the mushroom, especially around young children and pets.

“Calls to the BC Drug and Poison Information Centre (DPIC) for mushroom exposures in 2020 have been on par with previous years; however, there was a spike in June with 67 calls for mushroom exposures, double what was seen in previous years,” the agency said.

“Mushrooms typically emerge during wetter months and June had significant rainfall. With fall’s cooler and wetter weather, mushrooms can now be found in both urban areas and forests.”

Last Septemeber, a 16-week-old puppy died at the Victoria Humane Society after consuming what authorities suspect were death cap mushrooms.

Back in 2016, a 3-year-old boy passed away after eating a death cap mushroom he had foraged in downtown Victoria.

“Typically around two-thirds of our mushroom calls involve children 5 and under, so parents and caregivers need to be mindful of what’s on the ground where their kids are playing. But this year we have noticed an increase in mushroom calls involving adults,” said Raymond Li, a pharmacist with DPIC.

Anyone who suspects they may have consumed a death cap mushroom is asked to go to their nearest hospital immediately, call the BC Drug and Poison Information Centre at 1-800-567-8911 or call 911, and keep a sample of the mushroom for testing.